Pink Peppercorn Tom Collins

And just like that, we’re back!

If you haven’t noticed, I took a brief break from the blog earlier this year. I was able to land a new job at company I’ve wanted to work for for a very long time! I wanted to completely focus on being the best I could be in my new role for the first couple of months. After I became more comfortable in my new role, I realized that it would be a great time to step back and re-focus/re-structure the process of how I actually create content and executed this blog. So I took a couple of online courses, and watched lots of YouTube videos, and I even worked on my photography a bit. Now we are back, Nutmeg feels refreshed, and I’m excited to show you everything I’ve been working on!

First things first, we can’t have a blog re-launch without a celebratory cocktail! I knew I wanted to have my first recipe be some kind of bubbly delicious-ness that was also somewhat summery. I landed on a Tom Collins because its sweet, sour, balanced, refreshing, and pretty!

A Tom Collins is traditionally a drink made with gin, sugar, club soda, and lemon juice, served in a Collins glass. The flavor of pink peppercorns was the first thing that popped in my head when I read that strawberries are a common garnish. While I’m not a Tom Collin’s drinker on the regular, I did love that this drink was light, bubbly, and you can easily customize the amount of sweetness.

To incorporate the pink peppercorn flavor, I made a simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water, along with the crushed pink peppercorns, bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and simmer until sugar is dissolved, making sure to cool properly before using), which is a really great vehicle to flavor many different foods and drinks. The flavor in this recipe is really light and somewhat subtle, although that is par for the course with pink peppercorns.

Pink Peppercorn Tom Collins recipe adapted from https://www.liquor.com/recipes/tom-collins-2/#gs.qsgmx7

2 oz dry gin

1 oz fresh lemon juice

1/2 ounce pink peppercorn simple syrup

Club soda, to top

Measure all ingredients except the club soda to a cocktail shaker with a good amount of ice. Shake well. Add fresh ice to a tall tumbler, and pour the mixture over top. Top with club soda and stir lightly. Garnish with lemons and starwberries. Enjoy on a hot summer day with good friends!

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Chambord Kir Royale

Photography by Allyson Regan

New Year’s Eve is just a few short days away, so I wanted to share this tasty cocktail. It’s one of those drinks that looks awesome, and feels classy but is super simple to make. If you’ve never had a kir royale, like me lol, it’s classically a french drink served as an apertif before meals (thanks Google!). It contains creme de cassis, which is a black currant liqueur and wine. More times than not, the wine is white and it is sparkling.

Photography by Allyson Regan

I wanted to put a slight twist on this classic French drink so we swapped out the creme de cassis for Chambord, which is a raspberry liqueur and topped it off with prosecco. I also added a squeeze of fresh lemon to balance out the sweetness.

The result? This perfectly pink drink, that’s slightly sweet and full of awesome berry flavor. Chambord really does taste like raspberries. You only need about a teaspoon of liqueur per glass and plenty of prosecco. The lemon really helps to bring out the true raspberry flavor. Garnish with a couple fresh raspberries and a thin lemon twist and you’ve got yourself a party-starter! Let’s add Drink more Prosecco to all of our New Year’s Resolutions, mkay?

Photography by Allyson Regan

Cheers and Happy New Year!

Mango-Rum Lassi

Photography by Allyson Regan

Sweater weather is definitely here and while I adore the snow, I am craving just a bit of sunshine. Or maybe I just need some Vitamin D…

This recipe came about from a book club get-together with my mom and my sister. We love to get together and chat about a book we’ve all read, enjoy some good food, and usually a cocktail or at least some wine. This time we read A Place for Us, which is such a good book! If you’re hosting a book club for this book, look for a full post on it coming soon!

This was my first ever Mango Lassi, or Lassi in general, and in true Nutmeg-style, I added booze to it.  A Lassi is a traditional yogurt drink from India that usually contains water, sugar, fruit, and yogurt.  To keep with the tropical vibe of the mango that I chose for this version, I added rum, which felt all too natural.  Because I don’t really care for overly sweet drinks, I chose honey over the sugar for this recipe.  

Mango-Rum Lassi

2 cups frozen mango chunks

1/2 cup whole milk greek yogurt

1/2 cup water

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup white rum

1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)

Combine all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Taste to make sure you have the sweetness correct because every bag of frozen mango can have a different amount of sweetness.  This recipe make enough for 4 people, however it is a small glass for each.  For my mom and my sister, it was just enough for us because the drink is very thick and rich with that yogurt.  

 

Enjoy!

 

Photography by Allyson Regan

Black Widow Cocktail

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Photography by Allyson Regan

It’s almost the weekend, and its almost the weekend before Halloween so you know what that means.  I’ll be sipping this concoction from the comfort of my home and avoiding all of the ‘adults’ out and about partying this weekend.  But if you’re hosting a shin-dig or looking to celebrate with some boo-ze try this cocktail!  It’s super simple and so good and doesn’t have to be enjoyed just around Halloween.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

 

Black Widow Cocktail

3 pints of blackberries

1/2 cup water

1//4 cup sugar

Vodka

Ice

Extra blackberries for garnish

Begin by placing the blackberries and water in a blender.  Blend well and strain.  Add the blackberry juice and sugar and bring to a simmer.  Cook until the sugar dissolves.  For each drink, combine 6 ounces of blackberry syrup, 2 ounces of vodka, and ice in a glass.  Stir well.  Garnish with fresh berries.

 

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Photography by Allyson Regan

You could get even spookier by adding a cube of dry ice to the glass before serving!  So sinister!  Note that if you are using dry ice to take the proper precautions.   As always, have a safe and spooky Halloween!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Cheers!

 

 

Strawberry Vodka Lemonade

You guys.  I know it’s fall, but sometimes we just need a little taste of summertime.  Especially as we gear up for what appears to be an early and long winter.  All though today is quite warm and sunny!  This recipe uses the base lemonade recipe that can be found here, but with an alcoholic upgrade.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

You can easily just make the strawberry lemonade if there are little ones around, and add the vodka strawberries separately.   I outlined exactly how to keep the booze separate in the recipe below!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Strawberry Vodka Lemonade

6 lemons, about 1 cup of juice

1 1/4 cup simple syrup

5 1/2 cups of water

2 quarts of fresh strawberries

2 cups vodka

Add the simple syrup and 1 quart of the strawberries to a blender and blend until smooth.  Strain to remove the seeds and add to a large pitcher with the lemon juice and the water.  In a jar, add the vodka and the rest of the strawberries, sliced.  Let chill for at least an hour.  To serve, add ice to the pitcher and add the strawberry vodka to each glass to serve.  Don’t forget to garnish with a couple boozy berries!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Yum!

Autumn Sangria

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Photography by Allyson Regan

The temperatures have finally dropped and it finally feels like fall! I love fall! Until the first snow lands, of course.  Not that I need an excuse to make a pitcher of sangria, but this Autumn Sangria is the perfect thing to sip on during these colorful and brisk fall months.  Also, isn’t the word autumn fabulous? And you can describe autumn things by using an even better word, autumnal!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

This recipe came about, not from necessity, but from an idea to make our favorite sangria taste seasonal.  My sister, Ally, and I love to visit Rockwell Republic in downtown Grand Rapids not only for their fantastic sushi and happy hour deals, but also for their mixed sangria.  I’m not sure exactly what their recipe is, but this tastes similar, with a fall twist.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Autumn Sangria

1 cup Crown Royal Apple

1 cup pomegranate juice

1 cup red wine (use dry or sweet depending on your taste)

1 cup crisp, dry white wine (this helps the apple flavor pop)

1 cinnamon stick

1 each honey-crisp apple, nectarine, plum, pear

1/2 cup apple juice

1 bottle prosecco or champagne

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Photography by Allyson Regan

In a large pitcher, combine the crown, juices, and wines.  Heat the cinnamon stick over heat until fragrant and add in.  Feel free to cut the fruit however you like to munch on it, but I sliced them super thin on a mandolin which helped the fruit to absorb the flavors faster.  Add the fruit and refrigerate until ready to serve.  Fill with several ice cubes and top with a bottle of bubbly!  Serve with your favorite friends around a cozy bonfire.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Cheers!

My New Wine Obsession

You guys.  I’m definitely a wine-o, and sometimes going to the same store to get wine just gets old.  I also have this weird thing where I love the subscription box idea.  I’ve done other wine boxes, a snack box, workout clothing box, grocery box, and even a coffee box and I just love the simplicity of a monthly delivery of my favorite things!  I always want to be as transparent as possible on my little corner of the internet, so I want to be clear that I’m not being compensated by anyone to write this blog post.  I just really like this product and want to share the products I love!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

So let’s talk about how it works!  Click on this link, Bright Cellars, which will direct you to the companies website.  From there, you take a flavor profile quiz which is super easy and takes less than 5 minutes.  Your personal wine concierge then creates your box which contains 4 wines.  If you’ve tried other wine boxes like this one, please comment below and let me know if I should try them!  One of the reasons I love this box is that the customer service is really great and quick with their responses.  My wine concierge emails me minutes after I review my wines and uses that information to create a better box for me the following month.  Pictured above is the first box I received, and I loved 2 out of the four wines!  The other two wines were still good, and while it was really fun to try these new wines, I learned that I wouldn’t want to buy them again.

One of the wines in particular stood out to me and I will definitely be ordering another bottle.  It is the 2017 Zweigelt from Herz & Heim Vineyards.  This grape varietal is from Austria, and this particular vintage has notes of warm baking spices, dark berry flavors, and medium bodied.  I enjoyed this wine with a really great grilled steak and late summer vegetables, which paired really nicely.  It’s currently sold out, but I hope it comes back soon!

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So if you’d like to give this a try, click the link here, and you’ll receive two free bottles on your first box! This is a $30 credit, which is like getting 4 bottles of wine for $30.  The only thing that is a bit of a hassle with this box, is that you need to have someone with a valid ID over 21 to sign for the box upon delivery.  If I know that I won’t be home to receive the box, I usually just call FedEx after it has shipped and ask them to hold it at my nearest Walgreens which I can then pick up at anytime!

Once I open up the bottles from my second box I just received, I’ll post again about my favorites!  Feel free to leave a comment about your experiences with wine boxes like this or any other great subscription box.

Cheers!

Lemonade: For When Life Gives You Lemons

With summer winding down, I’m trying to recap all of my favorite summer recipes.  One that I love, especially when it’s hot outside, is fresh lemonade.  It’s super simple and is a lot better for you than store-bought.  If you want to get into the nitty gritty of what’s really in your lemonade and how terrible it is for you, read it here.  It’s disgusting.  While I know that you can’t possibly make everything from scratch, this is super simple and easy and you can control the sweetness and flavor.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

 

Making your own lemonade is a great way to control the amount of sugar your family is consuming.  You can even change the type of sugar you use.  The sweetener in this recipe is known as simple syrup which is also a common ingredient in a lot of mixed drinks.  You can purchase simple syrup in any grocery store, but please don’t.  You are over-paying for sugar and water, and probably some kind of preservative.  Simple syrup is equal parts water and sugar, brought to a simmer over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.  You can use granulated sugar or coconut sugar or raw sugar, or what ever you’d like.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Lemonade

6 lemons

1 1/4 cup simple syrup

5 1/2 cups water

Juice the lemons, taking care to strain well.  Six lemons should yield around 1 cup of juice.  If you use bought lemon juice, you might need more simple syrup.  Combine the lemon juice, simple syrup, and water in a large pitcher.  This should yield about 7 cups of lemonade, which is quite a bit, but you can mix it with iced tea arnold-style or add vodka happy hour-style.  Add plenty of ice and enjoy!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Blackberry Cucumber French 75

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Trust me, I know this sounds weird but it’s an excellent combination.  The cucumber lends a fresh lightness to the blackberry and the gin just kicks it up a notch.  There are a couple ways you can play this.  The first time I made this drink, I sliced the cucumber thinly and added it to the glass that already had a couple blackberries muddled.  Then I added the gin and topped it off with bubbly.  If you are making this for a crowd, try the recipe below!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

As you all know, the bubbly pictured above is one of my go tos, and it’s easy on the wallet.  French 75’s are one of my very favorite drinks.  Traditionally, it contains gin, simple syrup, lemon, and bubbly.  Gin has that herbaceous quality that lends itself well to this version.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Cucumber-Blackberry French 75

1 pint blackberries

1/2 cup simple syrup

1 english cucumber

1 lemon, zested

bubbly (prosecco or champange)

gin

Combine the blackberries, lemon zest, and simple syrup in a blender, saving a few for garnish.  Strain well and reserve.  Using a peeler, peel the cucumber into strips or slice thinly on a bias.  Pour a tablespoon of blackberry-simple syrup into each glass.  Add the cucumber garnish to the bottom of each glass.  Add 1 ounce of gin and top with bubbly.  Be careful not to pour too quickly because the bubbly will bubble more than usual because of the blackberry and cucumber.  Also, it will help the bubbly to float, making an appealing look in the glass.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Cheers!

Mimosas: Otherwise It Would Just Be Juice

It’s only Tuesday, but I can’t be the only one dreaming about the weekend.  Brunch is a good idea year-round, but summer is almost begging us to invite our friends over, make some delicious food, and pop some bottles.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Now, I’m sure that if you’re reading this, you know how to make a good mimosa.  Or you know how to drink good mimosas.  But I have some tips and tricks for making a great mimosa bar, and a fantastic mimosa.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Now, most importantly, you will need decent bubbly.  Choose from prosecco, Champagne, sparkling wine, or anything with actual bubbles and alcohol.  My go-to is prosecco, especially since I tend to drink dryer wines.  If you have buckets of cash lying around, empty them out and buy yourself some fancy Champagne from Champagne!  My favorite brand of prosecco is Freixenet, however I also like the Belletti Brand shown below and both options are very affordable.  Keep in mind that the juices will add sweetness and you don’t want the finished beverage to be too sweet.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Next, you’ll need fruit/mix-ins and juices.  My go-to choices include fresh berries, pomegranate juice, grapefruit juice, and the classic orange juice.  Fresh fruit is always a good choice, as is citrus segments.  Think raspberries, blackberries, pomegranate seeds, strawberries, cranberries, currants, grapefruit, orange, blood orange.  Now, you can go crazy with juices.  I usually have orange juice, pomegranate juice, grapefruit juice, mango juice, pineapple juice and anything else you can think of juicing.  The best part about parties with mimosa bars, is that everyone gets to make the exact drink they want, and they can also try new combinations!

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Photography by Allyson Regan

Ratios are also very important when discussing mimosas.  I generally stick to a 1:3 juice to bubbly ratio.  My guests have never complained.  Also, the order in which you add the items to the glass is important.  You want to add the juice first, then when you add the bubbly, it will mix together nicely.  If you add the fruit before the bubbly, it will cause an absurd amount of excess bubbles to form, so its better to garnish afterwards.  You don’t want to run out of anything, so 3 juice options should be enough, and buy enough bubbly knowing that you will get about 6 mimosas per bottle.

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Photography by Allyson Regan

So dust off your champagne flutes, call your friends, and stock your fridge!  Also, I’m now available for left-handed modeling gigs.

Cheers!

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Photography by Allyson Regan (who loves mimosas BTW)