- First! If you’ve been thinking about creating a cocktail garden in your home, head on over to our Instagram and check out our IGTV. We interviewed Kristin from Dine By Design about what’s currently in bloom and some fun ideas of things to plant whether you’ve got a whole garden to work with, or just a few containers on your windowsill.
- Second, National Mimosa Day was last week and we celebrated with making a fresh strawberry purée with cardamom and vanilla and pretty much enjoyed drinking Mimosas by the pitcher.
- Boston, you have a pretty good list of places to work and get a drink!
- Shiso leaves in cocktails? Here’s some tips (we talk about shiso in our garden video too!).
- Grenadine too sweet for you? Switch it up with Campari!
- A short guide to what’s what on those cannabis bottles.
- Would you replace your bourbon with this beer?
- Didn’t we just report that Las Vegas had the best cocktails? Well move over Sin City, Singapore is taking the lead.
- Using citrus in your cocktails? Better be diligent about cleaning it or, you know, start growing your own...
- And finally, Vegemite… now for cocktails!
This post was made in partnership with Truvia®. Recipes and ideas are my own.
It’s May, and we are full swing into all the bridal showers, baby showers, outdoor brunches, weddings, and any other excuse you can think of to drink bubbly cocktails outdoors. I consider this to be the height of outdoor drinking season because the breezes are cool here in SoCal and it’s comfortable in the shade. Come August, FORGET IT. I’m inside with the AC on.
It’s no wonder that May also contains National Mimosa Day; in fact, it’s today! If all you know about Mimosas are the cheap, sparkling wine drinks offered “bottomless” at your local brunch spot, let me change that notion with this vibrant, delicious spin on the classic brunch cocktail. We’ve teamed up with Truvia® to add a little zero-calorie, natural sweetness to this fruity, sparkling cocktail.
Orange juice and sparkling wine can be fine, but mostly, just a flat, one note drink. Here I’ve puréed sweet tart strawberries that have been lightly spiced with cardamom and vanilla, and combined that with orange and lime juice—so you have a sour balance to the sweet. The strawberry purée is sweetened with just three Truvia Natural Sweetener packets; no measuring spoons needed!
Now, do me a favor and use a good prosecco or champagne. A Mimosa is not a reason to use that weird bottle someone regifted you sitting in the back of your pantry. If you want a tasty Mimosa, use a good sparkling wine (if you’d drink it on its own, it’s good to use here). You’ll want something dryer to balance out the fruit; this drink is all about balance. Also, if you think that vanilla and cardamom are bold flavors, you’re right! However, mixed in with all the other ingredients here the vanilla is subtle and the cardamom has the perfect amount of kick. It all results in a lovely, springy drink, with fewer calories than the full sugar version thanks to Truvia.
With just a little pre-planning, you can have some gorgeous, tasty drinks for your next outdoor soiree. Happy brunching!
- This recipe is easily scalable and can be batched ahead of time minus the sparkling wine.
- If you do not own an immersion blender to make the purée, you can throw the cooked down strawberries into a blender, or just leave a little chunky as-is.
- Make it non-alcoholic! Use a good quality non-alcoholic sparkling wine. They exist now and are really good when you can’t have, or don’t want, the alcohol.
Fresh Strawberry Purée and Mixed Citrus Mimosas
For the strawberry purée:
1 cup chopped strawberries
3 Truvia Natural Sweetener packets
1/2 vanilla bean pod
pinch of ground cardamom (or seeds from 4 green cardamom pods, crushed)
1/4 cup water
Combine chopped strawberries and Truvia packets in a small bowl. Lightly mash together and let sit 10 minutes. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the mashed strawberries with any juice in the bowl, vanilla pod, ground cardamom, and water. Bring to just under a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and discard vanilla pod. Let the strawberries cool to room temperature. Using an immersion blender, blend strawberries until smooth (see note above if immersion blender is not available). Use immediately or store in an air-tight container, refrigerated for up to 3 days.
For the cocktails (yields two cocktails):
2 tablespoons strawberry purée (recipe above), divided
1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
6 ounces good quality orange juice
6 ounces prosecco or champagne
strawberry slices and orange wheels for garnish
In two champagne glasses add one tablespoon of strawberry purée each. Mix together the lime juice and orange juice in a large mixing glass and divide between two glasses. Top with 3 ounces each of the sparkling wine. Gently mix to combine. Garnish with strawberry slices and orange wheels. Cheers!
- First, if you like vermouth cocktails, check out our latest recipe. You also have to like thyme too.
- Since Mother’s Day is over, I’ll just have these cocktails for brunch, thanks.
- Come to NYC for the rare whiskeys, stay for the vegan BBQ at this new bar.
- Look, we’re never going to truly define what Tiki is, but I think we should at least start calling all the drinks rhum rhapsodies again.
- I just LOOOOOVE the illustrations in this book, almost as much as I love tequila.
- A few tips for next-level hospitality at your bar (whether you own it or just work there).
- Dave Stolte is an amazing illustrator and creator of the Home Bar Basics cocktail book. You might not know him if you’re outside of LA, but you should!
- California is taking on whiskey. Will it be good?
- Congrats to Pernod Ricard. More companies should have sustainability goals.
- And finally, fries… what you should be pairing with your champagne but haven’t tried yet.
This post is brought to you by Cinzano. Recipe and ideas are my own.
Vermouth is one of those jack-of-all trade bottles in your liquor cabinet. Have it for an aperitif to whet your appetite before a meal, pair it with your favorite gin for a classic martini, sip it alongside your meal, infuse it with interesting herbs and spices, or play off its flavors in a new cocktail twist. Do you have any particular brands that come to mind when you think of vermouth? For me, the classic vermouth I’ve been grabbing for ages is Cinzano.
And today we’ve got a wonderful cocktail that will be your spring and summer sipper: Thyme for Tea. This cocktail was made for outdoor garden parties. Fresh thyme is steeped in a green tea syrup, mixed with gin and Cinzano Bianco Vermouth, and kissed with the subtle scent of lavender and a touch of lemon. You could quietly sip one of these by yourself, lost in thought, or mix up a whole bunch and enjoy with some friends on a late summer afternoon.
Thyme for Tea
1-½ ounces London dry style gin
¾ ounce Cinzano Bianco Vermouth
½ ounce thyme and green tea syrup (recipe below)
¾ ounce lemon juice
3 dashes lavender bitters
thyme sprig garnish
In a mixing glass ⅔ full, pour in gin, Cinzano Bianco Vermouth, thyme and green tea syrup, lemon juice and lavender bitters. Stir 20 seconds and strain into a chilled coupe glass. Garnish with a fresh thyme sprig.
Thyme and Green Tea syrup
1 cup sugar
¾ cup water
Handful of fresh thyme (about 8-9 grams)
2 bags genmaicha green tea
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine sugar, water and thyme. Bring to just under a boil, stir to dissolve sugar, and remove from heat. Add tea bags. Cover and let steep 30 minutes. Strain mixture into an airtight container and use immediately or refrigerate up to two weeks.
Mom does not want a gift certificate to your favorite restaurant. Mom wants booze.
For every type of mom out there, we can all agree, if you’re looking here for gifts, she wants some wine. Accessorize that bottle with a hometown wine bag. Better yet, accessorize with some accessories. Earrings are always a good idea. Does she need a to-go cup for that last glass of wine? Yes, duh. Does she like to #earnherbooze? Does she need a tank top to proclaim this at the club gym? I bet her bestsellers book club would be impressed with a James Beard award book winner. And I think it’s about time you replaced that fancy punch bowl set of hers you broke in high school. Better bring her a spritz too.
Catch up on all the gift guides here!
- First, I was interviewed! The awesome Mo Herms chatted with me about cocktail blogging, my years DJing girl garage 45s, and themed tiki parties among other things. Give it a listen and check out the playlist I created especially for the episode!
- Second, like cocktail onions? Our latest Make or Buy gives our super easy recipe, plus one of our favorite brands to buy!
- Being a great bartender requires some amazing skills, so maybe our next president should be one?
- Put down that bottle of cooking wine and pick up the good stuff. And then cook with it.
- A few tips for interviewing people and getting the staff you want at your bar.
- If you absolutely have to drink that last sip of wine, don’t worry, that sludge in your glass won’t kill you.
- Thank you Japan for making Four Roses good again!
- Canada is getting serious about its cannabis booze.
- Houston, TX: it’s where you should drink next and here’s why...
- And finally, I’ll drink what the Rock’s been cooking.
It’s that magical time of the year where you have a weekend full of reasons to make bad decisions. Place your bets! And let’s make some drinks!
As much as I love a delicately twisted lemon peel, or light up ice cube, hands down my favorite cocktail garnish is a cocktail onion. That combination of sweet onion, still crunchy, in a spiced vinegar brine hits all the right notes for me. So, today we’ll compare my homemade recipe versus store bought for this month’s Make or Buy post!
Now, there are not as many cocktail recipes that call for a cocktail onion for a garnish as opposed to, let’s say, an orange peel. But this doesn’t mean it should be relegated to an afterthought in Sunday’s bottomless Bloody Mary brunch. The austere Martini gets transformed into the cheerful Gibson by simply removing the olives (or lemon twist), and adding a cocktail onion. A Spanish-style gin and tonic gets a briny boost from the addition of a cocktail onion or two. And if you’re making the Indian Fresh Lime Soda Sweet and Salty (see my spiked version here), then you want to garnish with both a cherry and an onion. I also like them in a Spicy Tomato Water Martini too.
Your grocery store probably carries a perfectly fine version of cocktail onions (and if not, there’s always Amazon). I’ve also learned that there are a lot of regional varieties that stores carry, and there’s many farmer’s markets out there with people selling their own version of these pickled vegetables. Because there’s SO much variety out there with this product, I tried to find one that a. I like and b. that is not too hard to come by.
- I really like the Collins brand cocktail onion because it has a nice balance of brine: not too salty, not too vinegary
- The onions stay intact and have a nice crunch
- Easy to purchase online
- Ready made
- Mild taste
- small in size
- not as fresh tasting as homemade
To Make: Homemade Spiced Cocktail Onions
- Can alter the spices/flavor to suite your taste
- Batch as needed
- An easy, entry level DIY project
- Time: It will take at least 3 days before these are ready to use
- Flavor can be inconsistent from batch to batch
- You have to actually make the recipe
And how do they compare in a cocktail? To taste them in a drink naturally I turned to the Gibson cocktail. The store bought cocktail onions left a strong vinegar punch to the Gibson with an onion aftertaste. The homemade cocktail onions had more layers of flavor from the spices in the drink with a subtle finish of the onions. Both great depending on your mood. So, regardless of which path you choose here, you’re going to end up with a solid Gibson.
Homemade Cocktail Onions
1/2 pound cocktail onions
1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar, champagne vinegar, water
1/4 tsp brown and yellow mustard seeds, coriander seeds
5 allspice berries
Combine all ingredients except onions in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve salt and sugar. Add cocktail onions in and let simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let reach room temperature. Pour everything into a ball jar and seal. Refrigerate for at least 3 days and up to two weeks. Onion flavor will mellow as it sits. Use within one month for best flavor.
- First, we’ve got a new twist on the classic Mint Julep cocktail you’ve got to try… just in time for racing day!
- You know what, when I hear the word centipede in anything anymore I automatically think of the grossest things, so no thank you I’m not drinking centipede booze.
- Watch this video and learn how NOT to poison your guests!
- Sake, not just for sushi bars anymore.
- WHOA, this cocktail book won the James Beard award for book of the year!!!
- Idea for your next staycation: bar hopping at your hotel.
- Low ABV wines! It’s a thing!
- Is Las Vegas the best new drinking city? Well, since I’m in LA I’ll say no, but here is one person’s take on the cocktails there.
- How to shop at a wine store like a pro. (I guess buying a bottle cause it looks cool is NOT the way to go)
- And finally, here’s all the new spirit releases for April!
This post was made in partnership with Truvia®. Recipes and ideas are my own.
As much as we needed the rain here in Southern California, with this drought that’s been going on for years, I must say I am SO happy to see blue skies and warmer temps. I’m getting all the tropical feels now, everything is green, and racing season is just around the corner.
I will take any excuse to wear one of my many oversized hats, and it’s even better when cocktails are involved. The Mint Julep is the traditional drink in Kentucky, and I know that some people have very strong opinions about the drink in its purest form… but I am not one of those people. While a Mint Julep is refreshing on a hot day out in the sun, I wanted to give my race day drink a little tropical twist.
Together with Truvia® I’m taking the traditional Mint Julep and sweetening it with a rich, toasted coconut syrup made with Truvia Brown Sugar Blend, which has a deep, rich caramel flavor you expect from brown sugar with 75% fewer calories per serving than brown sugar. The flavor of the Brown Sugar Blend intensifies the caramel-y flavors of the bourbon and the spicy notes of the rum. The toasted coconut gives a wonderfully nutty and fragrant aroma to the syrup that works really well with the mint, transporting you to a lush tropical locale, no matter where you’re sipping it.
If you’re hosting a racing party, these drinks are easily batch-able too! I’ve included a note in the recipe if you’d like to serve up multiple of these cocktails.
Tropical Toasted Coconut Mint Julep
10 mint leaves
2 ounces bourbon
1/4 ounce Toasted Coconut Syrup (recipe follows)
1/4 ounce aged rum
mint, toasted coconut flakes, pineapples for garnish
In the bottom of a julep cup (or Collins glass), muddle the mint leaves with the syrup. Pack the glass with crushed ice and pour in bourbon. Drizzle rum on top and garnish with mint leaves, toasted coconut flakes and a pineapple spear. Giant hat or seersucker suit optional.
Toasted Coconut Syrup
1 cup flaked coconut, divided
3/4 cup Truvia Brown Sugar Blend
1/2 cup water
- Preheat your oven to 325°F. Spread coconut out on a baking sheet and toast in the oven, tossing the coconut every few minutes or so, for 5-10 minutes. Coconut should be golden brown and fragrant. Remove from oven.
- In a medium sized saucepan, combine Truvia Brown Sugar Blend and water. Bring to just a boil, whisking constantly to dissolve sugar, and then turn heat down to a simmer. Add 1/2 cup of the toasted coconut (the other 1/2 cup will be reserved as a garnish for drinks). Whisk to combine everything and let simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let stand until room temperature. Strain out coconut (I use a nut bag for this) into an airtight container. Use immediately or refrigerate. Will keep up to one month.
To batch this recipe: Add 1/4 cup packed mint leaves in the bottom of a pitcher. Muddle with a 1/2 cup of Toasted Coconut Syrup and then add in 2 cups bourbon. Stir to combine. Chill in refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight. When ready to serve, pack 8 julep cups with crushed ice, fill with mixture and garnish with mint and toasted coconut flakes. Optionally drizzle 1/4 ounce of aged rum over the ice.