Gift Guide: More Boozy Gifts $50 and Under

Time to replace all those thrifted mismatched glasses that aren’t ironic enough.

Gift Guide: More Boozy Gifts $50 and Under // stirandstrain.com

A little extra cash to spend means you can give the gift of some spiffy new barware this year. Whether it’s drinks for a crowd, drinks for 4, or a discreet single serving you wear on your arm, you can also…put a bird on it (or in it??). And while you’re improving their bar, you might as well get them some better bar tools. And some new booze. And then invite yourself over.

1. Braulio Amaro 2. Pineapple Corkscrew 3. Punch Bowl 4. Copper Decanter Set 5. Piña Colada Ring 6. Lark Bird Glass 7. Boston Shaker Set 8. Shag Tiki Glass Set 9. Gin Baubles 10. Flask Bracelet

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!

Make It: Homemade Shimmery Peppermint Liqueur

Make It: Shimmery Peppermint Liqueur with Everclear // stirandstrain.comThis post was made in partnership with Everclear. Recipe and ideas are my own.

Peppermint liqueur and I have a bit of a… sordid past if you will. It was definitely a favorite of mine when I first discovered it among the contents of a family friend’s liquor cabinet. But now with time in-between us, a lot of time, I can revisit this old favorite of mine and class it up a bit for my current tastes. And that means making my own.

Make It: Shimmery Peppermint Liqueur with Everclear // stirandstrain.comSo, I definitely am a little obsessed with holiday DIY projects. In my mind, friends and family look forward to this time of year as I bestow copious amount of boozy concoctions on them. This year is no exception.

Make It: Shimmery Peppermint Liqueur with Everclear // stirandstrain.comFriends, if you really want to impress someone with a DIY gift, make it sparkle. Seriously. “Hey, I made you some Peppermint Liqueur.” “Thanks.” “Oh, but look, it also sparkles and kinda looks like a lava lamp!” “OMGEEEEEE THANKS!!!”

Make It: Shimmery Peppermint Liqueur with Everclear // stirandstrain.com

Make It: Shimmery Peppermint Liqueur with Everclear // stirandstrain.comSee, they’re going to love it because it looks like you spent a great deal of time researching and making this spectacular liqueur. You win the holidays. And no one will need to know it took you less than 15 minutes to make a big batch and divvy it up among bottles for gifts. It will probably take you longer to drive to Target, park, pick out some cute holiday cards, stand in line, drive home, and write a special note to attach to the bottles. And don’t forget some ribbon!

Make It: Shimmery Peppermint Liqueur with Everclear // stirandstrain.comIf you’re short on time, but want to give something special for the holidays, this is IT. Today I partnered with Everclear to help you folks win holiday gift giving with this super easy, Shimmery Peppermint Liqueur. You all know that I love using Everclear for my infusions, tinctures and bitters, and today it’s the base for this liqueur. Starting with a higher proof means I can adjust the ABV as I see fit. Maybe I want to go a little higher on one batch, a little lower on the next; I get to decide. Everclear also has a neutral taste so just the delicious, invigorating peppermint taste comes through, not notes of grass or potatoes, or, I dunno, tree bark.

Once you make this, you’ll definitely want to store it in some clear, air-tight bottles because NO ONE can resist holding it up to some light and swirling it around. NO ONE. Maybe stick some fresh greens and some ribbon on the outside and your gift is done.

Note: make sure you buy NON-TOXIC, EDIBLE luster dust. There are some luster dust products that are for decorative use only and not intended for consumption. Don’t buy those. Read the label. Also, do not put your head directly over the warm syrup when adding the peppermint extract. Any steam will send the extract right into your eyes! And it might sting!

Make It: Shimmery Peppermint Liqueur with Everclear // stirandstrain.comNow, let’s make some liqueur!

Shimmery Peppermint Liqueur

1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water
1 teaspoon natural peppermint extract (more or less to taste)
1 cup Everclear
1/2 teaspoon luster dust, pearl color (see note above)

  • In a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together the sugar and water until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat and add in peppermint extract and Everclear. Stir everything to combine.
  • To create shimmery effect, sprinkle luster dust in the bottom of the container you’ll store the liqueur in. Pour in the peppermint liqueur. Seal, and shake well to combine. Luster dust will settle to the bottom after awhile so shake well before serving.

This is great on its own, but if you’re looking to use it in a drink, here are a few suggestions:

  • Spike your Hot Chocolate
  • Stinger Cocktail
  • Peppermint White Russian (you’ll need to experiment on this one but I think it could be a winner)

 

For more information on Everclear and their Make It Your Own Campaign, please visit them at makeityourown.com

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

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.

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!

{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

5 Quick Tips for Entertaining this Labor Day Plus what you should be drinking!

Frozen Negroni Cocktail Slushies // stirandstrain.com

Uh-oh! You’re reading this a few hours before you decide to throw an impromptu party and need help?! First, take a shot of something, anything. Your significant other’s fancy whiskey they’re saving? Sure! Some cheap vodka you found in the freezer? Yeah, that will work. Fireball shots? Um, Ok I guess. Your kid’s cough syrup. NO. Don’t touch that. They’re all going back to school this month and breed germs, you’ll need that. Put it back.

You know what I hate? Entertaining tips that are totally useless. As we celebrate a day of rest, I hope these tips will take some of the work out of your Labor Day party.

  1. BATCH BATCH BATCH!
    What’s easier than measuring out cocktails with your measuring cups? Nothing. Bring out a punch bowl–it’s festive. Or bottle some cocktails up if you have the time. The point is that you want to make being at the party easy on yourself, and your guests, and self service is the way to go.
    Sparkling Pomegranate and Cocchi Rosa Cocktails // Smoky Sage Punch // Salted Peanut Bottled Old Fashioneds
  2. Pre-freeze your frozen cocktails
    Making frosé this year? If you want to cut down on the amount of ice in your frozen cocktails, you’ll want to stick them in the freezer the night before. This goes along with batching your cocktails, but this step means less watered down drinks. And that makes you a good host.
    Frozen Watermelon White Negroni // Frozen Blood and Sand // Peach and Tequila Frozen Cockails
  3. Label what your guests are drinking
    If you’re making a few drink options (or even if it’s just one), save yourself from having to repeat ALL the ingredients in something a hundred times by writing out the name and ingredients and sticking it on/next to/on top of the drink. You can get fancy and make something on the computer, or a scribbled on index card will also work just fine.
  4. Have your booze delivered
    Yes, it may seem a bit indulgent, but I’m trying to create less work for you guys. There’s a slew of great delivery apps/services out there who will bring you booze. And some even bring you food too. You decide how much $$$ you want to shell out.
    Saucey ($10 credit for you guys too) // Drizly // Instacart (also with $10 credit)
  5. Invest in a large cooler or mini fridge
    Not all your guests are going to want cocktails so you’ll need beer and water and whatever else people drink besides cocktails. You know what’s great? Your guests have access to all the drinks they want at arm’s length. You know what’s not great? Having people rifle through your fridge. Get a cooler.

If you’ve got a hot tip, let us know! Leave us a comment or reach out to us online. We’re listening.

What You Should Be Drinking This 4th of July

And then George Washington took out his Margarita machine and said, “Let there be frozen drinks!”. Happy 4th folks!

The Blue Crush Tequila Swizzle // stirandstrain.com

The Blue Crush Tequila Swizzle

Frozen Negroni Cocktails (regular and watermelon)

Frozen Cucumber and Green Chartreuse Daiquiri Cocktail

Frozen Peach, White Pepper and Green Tea Daiquiri

Frozen Blood and Sand Cocktail

Peach and Tequila Frozen Cocktail

Frozen Peach, Rum, Coconut Blended Cocktail

Low Rent Cocktail of the Month: The Snowden

Gift Guide: Father’s Day 2017

Unless that tie rack comes with booze…think again.

Fathers Day Gift Guide 2017 // stirandstrain.com

 

For the bookworm Dad: booze books. For the stylish Dad: booze cufflinks. For the junk food Dad: beer and pretzel ice cream. For the outdoorsy Dad: a pocketknife to hand carve a muddler. Oh, and also a plaid flask (duh). For the goofy Dad: bourbon socks. For all the rest of the Dads: whisk(e)y. And you should probably throw in a Negroni finger stirrer because… well, your Dad knows a joke for that too.

1. Call Me Old Fashioned print 2. Coolhaus Beer and Pretzel ice cream 3. Rum Curious 4. The Bloody Mary Book 5. Bourbon socks 6. Cocktail cufflinks 7. Opinel pocket knife 8. Speyburn Single Malt Scotch Whisky 9. Gaz Regan Negroni Finger Stirrer 10. Plaid flask

 

Catch up on all the gift guides here!