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Hats on Parade

OK- here we go- DERBY WEEKEND… AND a fun post to get us back to lighthearted blogging around here. I’ve never been lucky enough to attend the Kentucky Derby- but lets just say its extremely high on my bucket list- if for no other reason than to have an excuse to get my extreme prep on and to buy a most ridiculous hat!

derby hats

I’ve decided to round up a few of my favorites from around the web- full disclosure that some of these are OBSCENELY expensive. But you know it would be worth it. I”m having a hard time deciding between the red feathers and the GIANT blue bow as a favorite…

Derby Hats Galore!

And as an added bonus, one of my coworkers gave me his favorite recipe for a Mint Julep so I’m sharing it with you here. What really sets it apart I think is the minted simple syrup- so worth the extra effort! I hope you make several this Saturday because, I mean- can you really drink anything else on Derby Day???

Proper Mint Julep

mint-julep

  • 2 cups crushed ice
  • 2 oz. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
  • 1 oz. of minted simple syrup
  • 2 bunches of Kentucky Colonel Mint (crucial – not spearmint or peppermint)
  • 1 thoroughly chilled julep cup

Minted Simple Syrup

First, make your simple syrup. In a heavy medium-sized saucepan over medium heat, stir together 1 cup of sugar and one cup of water until dissolved.  Increase heat slightly and simmer for 5 minutes.  Remove from heat, add 1 bunch of Kentucky Colonel mint leaves, and let steep for 15 minutes.  Strain through a cheese cloth, bottle the syrup, and refrigerate 3 hours before using.  This will keep for up to 1 week, so you can prepare it ahead of time.

Making the Mint Julep

Add 1 oz of simple syrup, then 1 cup of the crushed ice, then 2 oz. of Woodford Reserve bourbon, and a splash of water.  Add enough of the remaining crushed ice to almost fill the cup.  Stir well and garnish with a sprig of Kentucky Colonel mint.

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Bloggers’ Favorite Holiday Cocktails

the-mistletoe-wasnt-the-only-thingIs anyone else starting to feel the holiday crunch?? I feel like everyday is another party or dinner, and I can’t count how many times I’ve run to Charles St to pick something up in the past few weeks. Last week I was so busy, I gave myself a cold (yes, mom, I haven’t been sleeping enough) But back to my point- December is a hectic month! So its important to set aside some “me” time everyday- and what better way to unwind than with a great cocktail?

Today I’ve asked four bloggers to share their signature holiday drinks-Drew of Catfish & Caviar, Matt of Boston BarHopper, Elisabeth of Headbands and Bagels and Liv of Liv.Love.Blog. Four drinks that are not only boozy, but full of seasonal ingredients that conjure up visions of sugarplums and the sounds of sleigh-bells. Let me just say, I can’t WAIT to try them, and I’m sure you can’t either! Reading these recipes puts me in such a Christmassy mood.

So a big cheers to all bloggers out there- and don’t worry- we can make it!

Drew of Catfish & Caviar: PomRazz Mintini

This is def my favorite Holiday cocktail because its super simple & includes all the Holiday colors! The pom, raspberries, & mint leaves make me feel healthy while I’m guzzling them down Christmas Eve 🙂

PomRazz Mintini

Matt of Boston BarHopper : Hazelnutcracker

This simple recipe yields a creamy, frothy, nutty drink that you can reward yourself with after a long day of Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, sending greeting cards, what have you. It calls for a raw egg, which tends to make people a little squeamish. An egg was not uncommon in older cocktail recipes, but it gradually became something of a lost art. I’ve been seeing it more frequently in recent years, as mixologists revisit classic concoctions like fizzes and flips. It contributes a meringue-like creaminess that, unlike milk or cream, doesn’t weigh the cocktail down. If it still makes you uneasy, just use a fresh egg (organic if that’s the way you roll), shake well, and you’ll be fine. Adding a little extra alcohol can’t hurt, either.

Hazelnutcracker

  • One large brown egg.
  • 2 ounces Frangelico (if the holiday stress is really getting to you, throw in a little vanilla vodka).
  • Nutmeg.

Crack the egg into a shaker. Shake vigorously for at least one minute; your egg should look thick and frothy. Add the Frangelico and four or five ice cubes. Shake again, for at least another minute; frost should form on the exterior of the shaker. Strain into a glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg, and use a stirrer or straw to swirl the nutmeg on the surface. Best enjoyed on a snowy night in front of an open fire.

Elisabeth of Headbands and Bagels: Hot Buttered Cider

This recipe is one of my dad’s holiday standards. At past Christmases, we have enjoyed hot buttered cider with our homemade apple cider on Christmas night while we open our stockings. Its a warm, comforting holiday drink and is great when the snow if falling all around you.

hot buttered rum 2hot buttered rum 1hot buttered rum 3

Ingredients per cup:

  • Rum or Jack Daniels 1oz per 8oz of Cider (pick your poison)
  • Apple Cider 8-12 oz (I usually pick fresh cider in the refrigerated section)
  • Cinnamon sticks (1 per cup)
  • Butter (1 Tbsp per cup)

If you are making a large batch, I suggest heating all the ingredients in one pot on the stovetop. Cook until liquid is warm and butter is melted. Do not let it come to a boil.Make sure to stir while heating. This option is great if you are making a batch for a group larger than 5. If you are making a small batch, using the microwave is just as easy. Each mug should be heated for approximately 2 minutes, or until butter is almost melted. Stir each mug once heating is done to ensure all the ingredients are well mixed. Great option for small batches or a cup on your own. Happy Holidays!

Liv of Liv.Love.Blog.: Yule Mule

If you know me, you  know I love Moscow Mules. In the summer, I love them with watermelon infused vodka and big watermelon slices in them, and in the winter, I swap these flavors for cranberry. This cocktail is especially light and refreshing- cheers!

  • 2oz Triple 8 Cranberry Vodka( If you can’t find cran. vodka- 2 oz regular vodka and a splash of cranberry will do)
  • Ginger Beer
  • Lime Juice
  • Cranberries

Pour Vodka over ice in a low-ball glass, fill up the rest of the glass with ginger beer and stir. Squeeze in juice from one lime wedge and garnish drink with cranberries and edible glitter stars.

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Thanksgiving Cocktails

This usually comes as a surprise to my friends, but in my family, I am constantly ridiculed for being the worst cook. Come thanksgiving I am usually trusted only with tasks such as “cut the ends off green beans” and  mistakes that I made in the kitchen at 9 years old are still talked about as if they happened last year.

But while I’m not making the turkey or a blue ribbon pie, I still think I contribute to the day in a big way. The first is setting the table. And the second is coming up with great cocktails. Unfortunately last year’s cocktail was a little odd in flavor (gin, cloves, pears, etc) and so this year my mom asked that I test out the drink recipes beforehand. TWIST MY ARM why don’t you….

So last night I gathered up all of the ingredients to test out a few different drink recipes and I thought I’d share the results here. (and if you are my family reading this – feel free to chime in on which one you want!) They were all quite tasty so I’m having trouble deciding!!

Wild Turkey Cocktail.

If there is a blogger out there who has a passion for cocktail culture, it is Mrs. Lilien. Her Wild Turkey Cocktail was something you would order from a fancy cocktail bar with bartenders that spend 15 minutes crafting each drink. It was a lot of work, but definitely worth the effort. It should be noted though, that I have a weakness for any drink with egg whites.

1 1/2 oz Wild Turkey Bourbon | 1/2 oz fresh squeezed grapefruit juice | 1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice | 1 oz honey |1 egg white

Shake in a cocktail shaker, serve over ice, garnish with a cherry

Pear and Thyme Fizz

This recipe I found this summer on the blog Sous Style and I pinned it for a rainy day. While they put it out in August, I think the flavors of pear, apple and thyme are perfect for a thanksgiving feast. Full disclaimer that this one requires some prep a few hours beforehand! I loved having a nice crisp pear in the drink- but next time I’m cutting back on the thyme- Maybe I’ll even try a different herb?? I’m open to suggestions!

2 cups good-quality apple juice | 1 ripe but firm pear, very thinly sliced | 12 sprigs fresh thyme | 1/4 cup grand marnier | 1 bottle sparkling wine

Combine apple juice, pears, thyme and liqueur. Stir together, then refrigerate for 2 – 4 hours to allow the pears and thyme to infuse the juice with flavor. Divide between 6 champagne flutes, discarding thyme, then fill remainder of each glass with champagne. Garnish each glass with a sprig of fresh thyme.

Dark n’ Stormier

Can you sense a trend yet that I only like drinks with bubbles?? I also love ginger, making Dark n’ Stormys and Moscow Mules candidates for the best drinks EVER. This recipe is particularly special because it adds extra spice with ginger liquer AND homemade ginger beer. While I didn’t have time to make my own ginger beer (I have a fear of any recipe with yeast), Whole Foods sells a tasty one and the result was still delicious.

1 ounce Gosling’s Black Seal Rum | ½ ounce Domaine de Canton Ginger Cognac | Ginger beer, to taste | Thyme leaves, for garnish | Lime wedge, for garnish

Fill a highball glass with ice. Add the rum and ginger cognac, stir, and top with ginger beer. Swipe the lip of the glass with the lime wedge. Garnish with thyme leaves and the lime wedge.

All of the drinks were amazing, but I still can’t decide, so we might have to try a few more out tonight. (Oh the travesty!!) Any recommendations for a great Thanksgiving cocktail??


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Ciderhouse Whiskey

Have you heard? Zara Home just launched in the US! Like their clothing stores, the home version features so many affordable treasures- for every room in the house. I, of course, am especially taken with the kitchen section- especially the beautiful barware and glasses! So, in honor of their launch, I figured it was time to feature a new favorite drink recipe- Ciderhouse Whiskey with a few of the items sitting in my shopping cart ;). The drink is so fall-fabulous and simple to stir up! I’m also especially excited about finding this Morris Kitchen, Boiled Apple Cider Syrup (if you don’t have any you can also boil down Apple Cider in a pot for about two hours to 1/8 the original volume to make your own).

Ciderhouse Whiskey

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2 oz Makers Mark

1 oz Cider Syrup

Pour on the rocks and stir gently

Garnish with Lemon Zest

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Apparent Sour

Have you ever had Aperol? Its my new favorite alcohol- oranges + rhubarb and spices- its like drinking summer in a tall glass. It’s simple on its own, or topped off with champagne to make an Aperol Spritz- but I also love this recipe with my other favorite liqueur St. Germain. I’m also loving these bright summery glasses and coasters from Jonathan Adler. Test it out and tell me its not your new favorite for now through Labor Day!

Apparent Sour

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3oz Aperol

1.5oz St. Germain

Juice of one lime

Shake with ice

Serve

Bobby Heugel, Anvil Bar & Refuge, Houston

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