Gift Guide: Boozy Gifts $25 and Under

It’s not cheap, it’s frugal. Here’s our first of the “practical” gift guides this year.

Boozy Gift Guide: $25 and Under // stirandstrain.com

They might have a small price tag, but no one is going to regift these guys. Except maybe the reusable wine bag, because that’s the point. Whether you need some stocking stuffers they’ve never seen before (hello cocktail pins and firewater tincture!), some solid basics (muddlers! crushed ice trays!), or if you need a gift for your officemate who just got into cocktails (Meehan!), these are a sure bet. And of course, there’s always rum! And don’t forget yourself! I’ll be stirring up some drinks this holiday season with a couple Palm Springs stirrers.

1. Cocktail Pins 2. Meehan’s Bartender Manual 3. Extra Long Cocktail Muddler 4. Hot Toddy Carry On Cocktail Kit 5. Palm Springs Cocktail Stirrers 6. Firewater Tincture 7. Reusable Wine Bag 8. Crushed Ice Tray 9. Appleton Estate Rum

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

Wine Scavenger Hunt with Sheep Thrills Wine

Sheep Thrills Wine Scavenger Hunt // stirandstrain.comSheep Thrills Wine Scavenger Hunt // stirandstrain.com

This post was made in partnership with Sheep Thrills Wine.

This year I’m trying to bring simple, spontaneous pleasures into a year that’s been… draining, to say the least. While I am thankful to spend this week with family, I wanted to switch things up a bit after the meal. So, what can you do to entertain a house full of guests this thanksgiving? Send them on a wine scavenger hunt!

If you’re looking to have some adventures with out-of-town guests while being told to stay out of the kitchen, or if you need an activity to do the day after the big meal instead of sitting around arguing politics with your curmudgeonly uncle, or you’re having a few (or 20) pals over for Friendsgiving and it’s going to be in the high 80’s and you don’t have air conditioning (hello, Los Angeles!), this is a fun one!

Sheep Thrills Wine Scavenger Hunt // stirandstrain.com

We’ve teamed up with Sheep Thrills Wine this week to get you out of the house and on this wine adventure! I was always a huge fan of scavenger hunts as a kid and the other day, thinking of what to do with a house full of guests, I thought—adults like this game too! I mean, it’s going to be even better with wine involved.

Sheep Thrills Wine Scavenger Hunt // stirandstrain.com
Sheep Thrills Wine Scavenger Hunt // stirandstrain.com
Sheep Thrills wine, made in the Abruzzo region of Italy, is available in both a red blend and a Pinot Grigio so you’ve got your guests covered. And, with a price point that won’t break the bank (under $15 a bottle!!), you can afford to stock up and even give out a few bottles as prizes for winning the scavenger hunt. (Free wine is a big motivator to win a game. Trust me on this.)

Sheep Thrills Wine Scavenger Hunt // stirandstrain.com

Check out the printable below to play your own Sheep Thrills scavenger hunt. Or use it as a starting point to make your own game—just get outdoors and have fun!

Sheep Thrills Wine Scavenger Hunt // stirandstrain.com
Sheep Thrills Wine Scavenger Hunt // stirandstrain.com

For more information on Sheep Thrills Wine, please visit their website at www.sheepthrills.com

Chocolate Raspberry Bon Bon Cocktail

Chocolate Raspberry Bon Bon Cocktail with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur. Recipe and ideas are my own.

For a little over 3-1/2 years now I’ve been freelancing full time and while I love the multitude of perks that come with that (slippers! showers at 10am! Punch R&D before noon!) around holiday time I miss one of the best perks about working in an office: the vendor gift baskets.

They start sometime around Thanksgiving. You can always tell which vendor made a whoops that year by the size of the gift basket. Oh hey guys, let’s forget about trying to install that wrong range in the restaurant, instead, look at all this CANDY AND BOOZE we’ve sent you!!!!

Chocolate Raspberry Bon Bon Cocktail with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comThere was the ubiquitous popcorn balls (bleck), the really cheap wine (Ok, we can try that come 3pm on Friday) and my favorite, the bon bon boxes. You know the ones: giant, golf ball sized chocolates filled and flavored with all kinds of fruits and nuts. The chocolate raspberry? Oh yeah, that’s mine thanks.

This week we’ve teamed up with Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur to recreate a drinkable version of that indulgent treat. Kerrygold Irish Cream is made in Ireland with milk from grass-fed cows so it is SO rich and SO creamy, and the chocolate is real, not just flavoring, which you definitely want if you’re making a cocktail like this. With a hint of oaky Irish Whiskey it’s rich treat on it’s own but also fantastic for mixing in a cocktail. This drink is super simple to whip up and I’m giving you guys the option to either make your own raspberry syrup, or buy it, because sometimes… you just can’t.

Chocolate Raspberry Bon Bon Cocktail with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comAlso, FOLKS!!! If I’ve inspired you to grab a bottle of Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur just a head’s up that they’re giving away a trip to NYC for TWO to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day! Stir up your own cocktail and submit it online for a chance to win this fab trip (21+ USA residents only please!). Full details here: https://www.kerrygoldirishcream.com/NYC Contest runs from November 13, 2017 to December 31, 2017.

So let’s treat ourselves and make a cocktail!

Chocolate Raspberry Bon Bon Cocktail with Kerrygold Irish Cream // stirandstrain.comChocolate Raspberry Bon Bon Cocktail

1-1/2 oz Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur
1 oz vodka
1/4 oz Allspice dram
3/4 oz Raspberry syrup (recipe below or use store bought, we recommend Monin)
3 raspberries and Cinnamon for garnish

In a mixing glass 2/3 filled with ice, combine Kerrygold Irish Cream, vodka, allspice dram, and raspberry syrup. Stir 20 seconds to chill and strain over fresh ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with raspberries and a dusting of cinnamon for garnish.

Raspberry Syrup

3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water
1 pint raspberries

In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar and water. Stir to dissolve and add raspberries. Reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, remove from heat and let sit 30 minutes. Strain into an airtight container. Store in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.

Extras

A “Fruitcake” Cocktail tequila - maraschino - citrus - currants - walnut - cider

Fruitcake Cocktail with Exotico Tequila // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Exotico Tequila. Recipe and ideas are my own.

I think fruitcake gets a bad rap. If someone gifted me one, I’d probably say thank you, dunk a slice in some milky coffee and enjoy my day. Who had it in for this fruit and nut studded loaf? Who made the association between fruitcake and a brick? Was it a slew of poorly made, overly manufactured cakes hitting the market all at once? These are the questions keeping me up at night, making me scratch my head and then making me wander into the kitchen looking for a piece of cake.

Fruitcake Cocktail with Exotico Tequila // stirandstrain.comSo today I thought I’d get a little unconventional and create a cocktail that evoked “fruitcake” but in some surprising ways. I also have your time in mind dear readers and wanted to make sure you had a holiday-ish cocktail in your back pocket you could whip out next week, or in the coming weeks, and not have to do any heavy lifting (No syrups or infusion making today! That’s next week!).

I’ve partnered with the award winning Exotico Tequila and their reposado expression made with 100% blue agave today as the base of the cocktail. Their reposado has lots of warm vanilla, dried fruit and spices in their flavor profile that make it the perfect compliment for those spices you’d find in the cake. I also like the tequila’s more savory notes to balance out the cocktail. To really bring in the fruit and nut flavors I muddled some citrus and dried currants along with maraschino liqueur and rounded it all out with a few dashes of black walnut and Angostura bitters. To brighten it all up it’s topped with just a touch of sparkling apple cider. The end result is tart with lots of spice and a hint of savory from the tequila and the walnut bitters.

It’s an easy to drink, holiday friendly cocktail. You might just find yourself reaching for a real piece of fruitcake too.

Fruitcake Cocktail with Exotico Tequila // stirandstrain.com

A “Fruitcake” Cocktail

2 ounces Exotico Reposado Tequila
1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur
1 orange slice
1/2 teaspoon currants (or one large pinch to taste)
1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice from about 1/2 a lemon
2 dashes black walnut bitters
2 dashes Angostura bitters
1 ounces sparkling apple cider
orange slice for garnish

In the bottom of a shaker, muddle together maraschino liqueur, orange slice and currants. Fill shaker 2/3 with ice and pour in Exotico Reposado Tequila, lemon juice, black walnut bitters and Angostura bitters. Shake hard about 20 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass over fresh ice. Top with sparkling apple cider. Garnish with an orange slice.

Fruitcake Cocktail with Exotico Tequila // stirandstrain.comFor more information on Exotico Tequila, please visit them at exoticotequila.com.

Black Licorice and Amaro Bat Jellies

Make It: Black Licorice and Amaro Bat Jellies for Halloween // stirandstrain.com

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

The older I get, the more I want to create my own set of holiday traditions. While Thanksgiving and Christmas tend to be where one’s mind goes to when we think “holiday traditions”, in our house, Halloween is a big deal.

Make It: Black Licorice and Amaro Bat Jellies for Halloween // stirandstrain.comFor a brief period of time in my late 20’s, my husband and I threw some really fun Halloween parties (and Tiki parties, and Christmas parties, and OH BOY do we love a themed party). But now that we have our little family here we tend to go out for parties now, leaving the themes for others to make. Halloween night, though, we’ve started having a party for 2.

Make It: Black Licorice and Amaro Bat Jellies for Halloween // stirandstrain.com

While yes, one can raid your kid’s treat bag and gorge yourself on low quality store candy (is it me, or do brands tend to crank out sub-par versions of their candy to stuff into those 10 lb mix bags this time of year?). But as an adult you should do yourself a favor and make yourself something special; at least for one night.

Make It: Black Licorice and Amaro Bat Jellies for Halloween // stirandstrain.comIf you’ve been visiting this site for some time, you know I L-O-V-E making adult jellies (or jell-o shots or what-have-you). You can forget everything you knew about those terrible things you choked down in college, and instead congratulate yourself on making a sophisticated treat with this recipe. And just for balance, I’m going to cut mine out in bat shapes for Halloween—I don’t want to be that serious. (You could just as easily put them in a spherical mold or pour your mixture in a non-stick baking pan and cut squares out too.)

Make It: Black Licorice and Amaro Bat Jellies for Halloween // stirandstrain.comAnother fun part of this recipe is that you get to go out and buy a bag of candy for the infusion. My Scandinavian side of the family dictates that I must enjoy black licorice but on the rare occasions that I do have a bag of it in the house, I am the only one who touches it and I almost always have too much left over. However, any extras that are leftover this time, go into today’s infusion!

Make It: Black Licorice and Amaro Bat Jellies for Halloween // stirandstrain.comToday we’ve teamed up with Everclear again to create this easy and sophisticated adult treat. I’m using the neutral tasting Everclear as the base of my licorice infusion, and then adding that to a simple mixture of amaro and gelatin (and some shimmering edible powder for extra oomph). You can make this recipe your own by using whatever amaro you enjoy, and you can take or leave the luster dust (I say take it though).

The end result are spicy and anise-y jellies with just a slight boozy kick. Look for an amaro on the mellower side so that you get that warming flavor from the black licorice.

Let’s make some treats!

Make It: Black Licorice and Amaro Bat Jellies for Halloween // stirandstrain.comLicorice Infusion (2 options)

10 ounces Everclear
1 cup black licorice, chopped

Option #1: Place licorice in an airtight container and pour Everclear over. Seal, shake to combine and let sit 5 days. Shake gently once a day. Test your infusion after 5 days and either strain through a coffee filter or let sit an additional day or two until desired flavor. Once desired flavor is reached, strain into a clean, airtight container. Store in a cool, dark place. Use within 6 months.

Option #2–quick infusion method: Into a whipping canister, add Everclear and black licorice. Screw on the top and charge with one charger of N2O. Discard charger and let the mixture sit for one minute. Release pressure, open the top and strain Everclear into a clean vessel for storage. Use mixture immediately or keep sealed in a cool, dark place for up to six months for optimal flavor.

Black Licorice and Amaro Jellies
yields 16 1 oz squares

8 ounces Amaro
2 packs gelatine
8 ounces boiling water
2 ounces Licorice Infusion
black food coloring, optional
1/4 teaspoon coral luster dust, optional

  • Line an 8×8 baking pan with plastic wrap. Set aside.
  • In a 4 cup capacity measuring glass, pour in amaro and sprinkle gelatine over the top. Let sit 5 minutes.
  • Next, pour boiling water over the mixture (it should have firmed up a little), stirring constantly to combine.
  • Stir in Licorice Infusion and food coloring and/or luster dust if using.
  • Pour into the lined 8×8 baking pan (or, alternatively, molds of your choice). Refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.
  • When mixture has firmed, cut into desired shape and serve immediately.

Halloween & Autumn Bar Cart Styling with a few of our favorite spooky cocktails from around the web!

Oh my gourd! It’s time to get that bar cart styled – for Halloween!

Halloween and Autumn Gift Guide 2017 // stirandstrain.com

If you don’t want to drop some dollars on a fancy punch bowl but still want to impress your friends, hollow out a pumpkin! Plop it on your bar cart! Pour in whiskey (or check below for some recommended recipes)! Stir it up with a skull spoon! And serve up your punch in some gothic goblets. Or some very Fall coppery glasses. With glow-in-the-dark eyeball ice cubes of course. Come November 1st you’ll need only add some decorative wheat stalks, and remove the eyeballs, and your Autumnal bar cart is DONE.

1. Black Glass Goblets 2. Copper Low Ball Glasses 3. Glow-In-The-Dark Eyeball Ice Cubes 4. Koval Millet Whiskey 5. Pumpkin 6. Copper Skull Bar Spoon 7. Infinity Bar Cart 8. Copper Drink Stirrers


Looking for some SPOOKY//Fall cocktail inspiration? Take a look at some of our favorites from our cocktail friends!

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

Monday Booze News there's a turkey in your gin, you're drinking champagne wrong, and nursery rhymes are filled with drunk people

Monday Booze News: bar cart it // stirandstrain.com

Adding Aroma to Cocktails: California Coastal Tincture

Adding Aroma to Cocktails: California Coast Tincture with Everclear // stirandstrain.com

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

Hi, my name is Elana and I’m that weirdo at Target standing in the hand soap aisle smelling every bottle trying to determine which scent comes home with me. Scent is a powerful determining factor of what gets used in my home. If a dish soap, or hand lotion, or candle has a scent that doesn’t jive with what I consider olfactory perfection, out it goes. Aroma with cocktails is also a similar experience.

Adding Aroma to Cocktails: California Coast Tincture with Everclear // stirandstrain.comCertain scents may sound strange when referencing a drink, but think about how we throw around terroir with wine (and now, there’s lots of spirits doing that as well). You may like a drink because it reminds you of cut grass from your childhood, or bell peppers, or–and this is a favorite of mine–hot tar. Many times, the aroma of a drink will keep me going back again and again. So I thought I’d try capturing a smell from one of my favorite places, the Central Coast of California, and putting it into a drink.

Today we’ve teamed up with Everclear to recreate the aroma of the California coast in a tincture: fresh green rosemary, wafts of woodsmoke, and a spray of salt air. Everclear has a neutral base and with the higher ABV it also helps to preserve the infusion with no added flavors.

Adding Aroma to Cocktails: California Coast Tincture with Everclear // stirandstrain.comTinctures are easy ways to get new layers of flavor and aroma into your cocktails without changing the amount of liquid already present. They also will not alter the ABV of your drink in any considerable way. You only need a few drops or a spray or two and your drink is transformed. All you really need is a few ingredients, a bottle of Everclear, and some time.

Adding Aroma to Cocktails: California Coast Tincture with Everclear // stirandstrain.comSo, let’s make this tincture and then I’ll give you a few quick and simple ways to use it once it’s done! Who knows, maybe this will inspire you to create your own tincture from your favorite place, or, err, hand soap.

Note: I find having some refillable spray bottles and droppers around helpful to bottle my tinctures, but these are totally not necessary. As long as you have an airtight, non-reactive container you should be fine (that glass canning jar your bone broth came in? Give that guy a wash and use that for storage!).

Adding Aroma to Cocktails: California Coast Tincture with Everclear // stirandstrain.comCalifornia Coastal Tincture

2 ounces kosher salt
2 ounces water
10 ounce Everclear
2 tablespoons lapsang souchong tea
4 sprigs rosemary, cleaned

  • In a small saucepan over high heat, combine water and salt and whisk vigorously to dissolve (it’s fine if not all the salt dissolves). Remove from heat and set aside.
  • In an airtight container with well fitting lid, combine Everclear, lapsang souchong tea, rosemary sprigs and salt mixture. Seal container and shake well to combine. Set aside in a cool, dark place for 5 days, giving the container a shake every day or so.
  • After 5 days remove the rosemary sprigs and taste the mixture for smokiness. If you want your tincture to go even smokier, leave the tea in for another 3 days, tasting until you reach your desired level.
  • When desired aroma/flavor is reached, strain the contents through a coffee filter into a clean, airtight container. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 6 months.

How do I use this tincture?

  • My absolute favorite way to enjoy this tincture is a few drops in a Martini using a 1:1 London dry gin to vermouth. The aroma pops and makes the drink much more complex.
  • You can mist this over a citrusy Old Fashioned. The rosemary pairs really well with citrus flavors.
  • Add a few drops to a Cachaça Sour for an earthy, tangy mix.

To learn more about Everclear and their Make It Your Own Campaign, click here!

{Now Closed} Giveaway: The Art of the Bar Cart and The Bar Cartist Tool Set

Giveaway: The Art of the Bar Cart and bar tools // stirandstrain.comAdulting is hard. Adulting is paying bills. But being an adult means you no longer can keep your booze on the shelf next to the cereal and red plastic cups are not appropriate when you’re having a date over. Enter the bar cart.

Giveaway: The Art of the Bar Cart and bar tools // stirandstrain.comBar carts are classy, and practical. And, if you’re like me, an excuse to change things up every season (or holiday. See here. Here. And here.).

To help with your styling, and to give you some drink ideas, Chronicle Books just released The Art of the Bar Cart. And guess what? We’re giving away a copy. Take a peek at some of these gorgeous shots! I kinda want one for every room in my house. We can all agree that a shower bart cart is, or at least should be, a thing? Right?

Giveaway: The Art of the Bar Cart and bar tools // stirandstrain.com Giveaway: The Art of the Bar Cart and bar tools // stirandstrain.com Giveaway: The Art of the Bar Cart and bar tools // stirandstrain.com

But wait! To help you with your styling endeavors, I’m also giving away a barware set from The Bar Cartist. The Stirred Gold Bar Set is the right tone for all of your upcoming holiday parties. It’s a little glitzy, but still reserved. The set contains a professional double jigger, cocktail picks, muddler bar spoon, hawthorne strainer and crystal mixing glass.Giveaway: The Art of the Bar Cart and bar tools // stirandstrain.com

So let’s all be adults and set up a proper bar cart, or even a little table and tray (that counts too), with a little inspiration from The Art of the Bar Cart and our holiday-ready cocktail set. Enter below and get up to 11 entries to win. Open to US residents only. Giveaway ends October 16, 2017. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday Booze News haunted distilleries, the origin of your favorite booze, and we're all dummies and using the squeezer wrong

Monday Booze News: it's aperitif time! // stirandstain.com

Welcome back, let’s get to the boozy news.