Festival Ready Bar Cart Styling (it's a party for your booze)

If you’re anything like me, scrolling through endless Instagram photos of kids out at a festival, profusely sweating and pretending to smile at the camera, you’re SO happy you didn’t wait in line 45 minutes for a watered down margarita. You get to drink yours with 2 ounces of top shelf booze in front of the air conditioning. You win.

Still miss that 104° heat? Make your home bar into your own oasis. Here’s how…

Do they even serve alcohol at these festivals? Who cares! You have a well stocked bar cart at home. Throw up some cactus photos, maybe in #milleniumpink and match your glasses to that desert vibe. Crochet. There has to be lots of crochet things. A hanging chair to sip cocktails in? YES! And maybe some hanging crochet fruit baskets to match. Add in some tassels and some leather fringe. And if your festival look veers off in the electric art dream in the desert, might I suggest uranium glow-in-the-dark mixing glasses and colorful rainbow ice cubes? You can always use that glow stick to mix a few drinks with too.

1. Desert Distilling Vodka 2. Blush goblet 3. Cactus Print 4. Hanging Chair 5. Tassel Swizzle Sticks 6. Manila Bar Cart 7. Leather fringe flask 8. Cactus tumbler 9. Arette Tequila 10. Glow-in-the-dark mixing glass 11. Rainbow Ice Cubes

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

{Now Closed} Giveaway // Wine Isn’t Rocket Science

Wine might not be rocket science, but you’ll feel a lot smarter talking about wine after you read this book. And today you can win your own copy of Wine Isn’t Rocket Science: A Quick & Easy Guide to Understanding, Buying, Tasting and Pairing Every Type of Wine!

The book debuts today and we’ve got TWO copies we can’t wait to give out. This book is perfect for the beginner oenophiles and seasoned wine lovers alike. There’s lots of easy to understand descriptions and graphics that make the world of wine easy to understand, even for those of you who usually just stick to cocktails.

Included are sections on:

  • Different varietals, highlighting the regions they grow in and key flavor profiles to look for when tasting each varietal.
  • The different production processes of white, red, rosé, Champagne and sweet wines.
  • Opening, pouring and pairing wines perfectly when entertaining guests.
  • Decoding wine labels and tasting wine like a pro.
  • The most productive wine regions around the world, from France, Italy and Spain to the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

So let’s get smart about wine! Enter below and score up to 11 entries to win your own copy of the book. Remember, we’ve got TWO copies up for grabs so tell a friend and you both can win! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Spiced Gunpowder Guava Cocktail a sweet and savory libation with Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum

This post is brought to you by Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum. Recipes and ideas are my own.

I’ve decided I hate the term “binge watching” television. The term makes it sound like it’s a bad thing to watch a few hours of House Hunters International. And that, folks, is not a bad way to spend a few hours of relaxation time (i.e. kids are asleep).

The couples on that show are fantastic to watch. Either they are attempting to look into the camera and say something positive about this bungalow in the jungle with giant flying bugs because they are fulfilling some dumb dream when they spent two weeks there in college and now are realizing how difficult it will be dragging their whole family there… OR their significant other is making them get a second house and they are just seething on the inside while obviously trying not to look angry for a national audience. But we can tell!

At the end of the island episodes, the couple is always cheers-ing with some fantastic looking cocktails and they somehow look content with their decision to be the crazy Americans on that island. If they were in Puerto Rico, by the way, they probably were sipping on a cocktail made with Don Q rum.

Today’s recipe is in partnership with Don Q Rums and we’re featuring their newest rum offering the Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum. Don Q Rum has only been in the States a little over a decade, but has been a popular choice in Puerto Rico for 150 years, making it their #1 rum. This spiced rum packs a punch of flavor with vanilla and pepper and just enough sweetness for my palate. While you can definitely sip this rum, it’s also a great mixing rum to make unquestionably delicious cocktails. So that’s what we’re doing with it now!

With such strong flavors to start with in the rum, I decided to use some equally strong flavors to compliment that spiciness. When you think powerful, do you think about gunpowder? In cocktails?! I do, but this version of gunpowder comes in the form of tea. Gunpowder green tea to be exact. Teas are great options for giving subtle (and sometimes not so subtle. Hello lapsang souchong tea!) flavor to cocktails. I steeped this savory, smoky tea in a simple syrup to lend a savory note to the drink and to balance the sweetness of the other components. Thinking of Puerto Rico, I opted to add some guava nectar for tropical sweetness and a big squeeze of lime finished with a touch of orange curaçao. The drink starts sweet, but ends with a lingering earthiness. To give it a finishing kick, the glass is rimmed in a mixture of salt and cayenne.

Ok, so now that we have our tropical inspired drinks, we can get back to the tv watching. While these house hunters might make very questionable choices, make sure your cocktail is unquestionably delicious.

Spiced Gunpowder Guava Cocktail

1-1/2 ounces Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum
3/4 ounce guava nectar
3/4 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice from about 1 lime (reserve lime shell)
1/2 ounce gunpowder green tea syrup (recipe follows)
1/4 ounce orange curaçao
1 teaspoon kosher salt and a pinch of cayenne pepper for garnish

  • First, combine salt and cayenne pepper in a shallow bowl. Using your spent lime, moisten the outside of your cocktail glass by rubbing the rim with the lime. Rim the side of the cocktail glass in the salt and cayenne mixture.
  • Next, in a shaker ⅔ filled with ice, pour in Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum, guava nectar, lime juice, gunpowder green tea syrup, and orange curaçao. Shake for 20 seconds and strain into pre-rimmed cocktail glass.

Gunpowder Green Tea Syrup

Yields approximately 5 ounces
3 bags of gunpowder green tea (or two heaping tablespoons if you have loose tea)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup water

In a small saucepan, combine sugar and water. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in teabags (or loose tea if using). Steep for 10 minutes. Strain and use immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one month.

For more information about Don Q Oak Barrel Spiced Rum and all their exceptional rums, their commitment to sustainability and quality, and for additional drink & garnish ideas and proper glassware tips please visit their website at donq.com.

Green & Gold Bar Cart Styling

It’s March. It’s almost spring. Let’s refresh that bar cart with a little smattering of green and gold. Lucky Charms cocktail garnish optional.

Thank your lucky (edible) stars we’ve been scouring the internet for some new bar cart items this month. First, skip the green beer and get yourself some green liqueur instead. Now that you’re adulting, a gilded bar cart is much prettier than a cardboard box. Next, grab yourself some equally pretty gold jiggers and a functional pitcher (for like, water or holding straws). And OK, yes, you can have ONE novelty glass. And a stir stick or two. And if you insist, some mint bitters for that adult Shamrock Shake you secretly want.

1. Shamrock Glass 2. Gold Cheers Stir Stick 3. Green Glass Pitcher 4. Gold Jigger 5. Edible Gold Stars 6. Mint Bitters 7. Ashley Bar Cart 8. Green Chartreuse

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

King Cake Cocktail

This post was made in partnership with Everclear. Recipe and ideas are my own.

The older I get, the more the traditions and holidays leading up to Easter get blurry. When I was a kid at parochial school, there was Lent, there was a day where we all got palms and some day where we all walked around with ash on our foreheads (this could have been the same day, I can’t remember now), and for what seemed like an eternity we were not allowed to eat meat on Fridays. I vaguely remember having a carton the size of an individual milk serving where we collected change to give to… someone during this time too but mainly went barren until my mom made us empty out our piggy banks to fill it. But then after all this we were rewarded with waking up one morning able to stuff our faces with chocolate before we even had our daily OJ. Score.

I don’t remember the exact time in my life when I learned about Mardi Gras, and I use the term “learned” loosely as I still don’t know all the intricacies surrounding this event, but I was intrigued by this parallel party during this season. Again, the ideas and customs are still a bit fuzzy, there’s a parade, beads, lots of drunk college kids, general overindulgence, and King Cake, where you bake a baby into dessert. Out of all these ideas I’ve tended to gravitate towards the cake because… cake; I just don’t focus too much on the baked baby part of it.

This month I partnered with Everclear again to develop a cocktail to celebrate with during Mardi Gras, and that made you think of the flavors of New Orleans and that special infant-hidden-in-a-cake cake. This cocktail is more on the sweeter side, it’s indulgent and a good fit for getting in all that excess before you need to cool off for 40 days (or if you don’t do that, hell, you can still party it up all the way through April drink in hand). The passion fruit and lemon juice started as a riff on a Hurricane and then I added in some almond and berry flavors to represent the cake. The Everclear is my neutral backbone for all the flavors and to give it that boozy kick.

And if you’re wondering why the green sanding sugar garnish, that and the purplish drink color also represent the green and purple colors of the King Cake. The sugar is optional, but for this party drink I’m pulling out the flourishes. Except for the baby. I’m leave that addition up to you.

Now let’s get mixing!

1 ounce Everclear
1 ounce Passion Fruit Juice
3/4 ounces Amaretto
3/4 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 ounces Cassis Liqueur

green sanding sugar for garnish

First, rim a chilled cocktail coupe with green sanding sugar. Then, in a shaker 2/3 filled with ice, shake for 20 seconds. Strain into the chilled and garnished cocktail coupe. Enjoy!

If this recipe looks familiar to you, you may have seen it next to a bottle of Everclear at your local liquor store (or package store! Who calls it that outside of New England?). 

What You Should Be Drinking on Valentine’s Day

Make someone you love a drink. I didn’t say it had to be another person.

The Foaming Pineapple Cocktail

Roses in the Snow

Róse Champagne Cocktail

Spiced Pear Fizz Cocktails

Sparkling and Spiced Winter Sangria

Electric Pink Fields

And to drive the point home…

Sex on the Beach Sailboat Cocktails

Valentine’s Day Bar Cart Styling

Turn down the lights, turn up the music, and put a little something sexy on… your bar cart.

A well stocked bar cart is essential for setting the mood. Sure, you’ve got the booze (ahem, maybe some chocolate whiskey too?), but don’t forget the accessories! Some glittering coasters and cups look awful nice against a roaring fire. And nothing says love more than hand squeezing some limes, except maybe some heart shaped drink stirrers? Want to go over the top? Perhaps you need a pink neon sign proclaiming your love (of cocktails) to hang over your freshly adorned bar cart.

1. Chocolate Whiskey 2. Glass Citrus Juicer 3. Blush Decanter 4. Hammered Brass Coasters 5. Gold Wine Opener 6. Neon Cocktail Sign 7. Copper Mule Mug 8. Feelin’ Tipsy Drink Stirrers 9. Beth Kushnick Bar Cart

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

What You Should Be Drinking on Super Bowl Sunday

Let’s get ready to foooooot balllllllll!!!! Right? Pretty sure that’s what they say at football games. Let’s make some drinks.

Hot Ward 8 Cocktails

 The Pineapple Hop Cocktail

Texas Tea Beer Cocktail

Rhubarb-Vanilla Beer and Pisco Cocktail

5 Spice Bourbon Punch Cocktails

Irish Coffee Jello Shots 2 Ways

And if you must….

Fireball Cider

Let’s Get Fresh! what to make and drink with all that winter citrus

Winter is officially citrus season, which always seemed so bizarre to me. Why would this bright, summery feeling fruit be a winter crop? Maybe to cheer us all up during those dark winter days? Well, drink (or make!) a few of these citrus concoctions and you’ll be smiling soon.

When you have too many Meyer Lemons:

Meyer Lemon Rosemary Syrup // StirAndStrain.com

Meyer Lemon Rosemary Syrup

Meyer Lemon Bitters

What about Tangellos:

Tangelocello // stirandstrain.com

Tangelocello

Rosemary-Tangelo Shrub

Lots of Mixed Citrus…make some punch:

Smoky Sage Punch

Brûléed Grapefruit and Mixed Citrus Punch with Vanilla and Piloncillo Reduction

Smoked Rosemary Rum Punch

9 Ladies Dancing Scotch Punch

And then there’s always the cocktail option:

Sugar, Spice and Citrus Play Nice Cocktail

Smoky Citrus Rum Old Fashioned Cocktail

Hot Ward 8 Cocktails

Fresh Lime Soda Sweet, Salty and Boozy

Chamomile and Tangerine Sparkling Cocktail for Two

New Year’s Eve Bar Cart Styling

Tiny bubbles…. or big golden bubbles. Whatever your type of bubbles, don’t forget to put some out on your bar cart this weekend. Here’s how we’re styling ours!

Gold? Check. More gold?! CHECK! We’re jazzing up our bar cart for NYE with a couple of glittery touches, plus, bottles and bottles of good champagne. Disco ball stirrers? Yasssss! Let’s put a stake in 2016 cause we are DONE WITH YEAR.

1. Pop Fizz Clink Napkins 2. Disco Ball Drink Stirrers 3. Brass Hand/Gun Corkscrew 4. Metallic Rimmed Champagne Coupes 5. Faceted Cocktail Shaker 6. Gold Wine Glass Numbers 7. Olympus Bar Cart 8. 2009 Louis Roederer et Philippe Starck Brut Champagne

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!