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.
Black Widow Cocktail
3 pints of blackberries
1/2 cup water
1//4 cup sugar
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.
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!
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.
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!
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!
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!
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.
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
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.
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!
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.
Cucumber-Blackberry French 75
1 pint blackberries
1/2 cup simple syrup
1 english cucumber
1 lemon, zested
bubbly (prosecco or champange)
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
So dust off your champagne flutes, call your friends, and stock your fridge! Also, I’m now available for left-handed modeling gigs.
I’m at a stage in my life where brunch is the best way to kickstart my weekends. And I hope I never grow out of this stage. Come on, lunch food combined with breakfast food? Mimosas? Bloody Mary bars? Not to mention the whole sleeping in and then most likely napping after the delicious meal.
One of my favorite things is to host brunch at my house. It’s so simple and makes brunch that much better because its less expensive, you can have exactly what you want, and you can wear yoga pants. Win, win, win.
Whenever I host brunch, I love to set up a bloody mary bar. It’s super simple and your guests will love it! It’s easy to customize to you and your guests tastes, but I’m going to outline just a few must haves and some creative ingredients.
First things first, you’ll need vodka. Well, you don’t need vodka, this is your bloody bar, so there are no rules/judgements here. But I would recommend vodka. My go-to vodka is Titos, I just think it has a really basic but smooth flavor that makes it ideal for bloody marys. But I also like Svedka vodka and New Amsterdam. And most of the other kinds. Okay all the other kinds.
Next is the tomato component. You can definitely make your own mix, or just put out really good tomato juice. For ease on my wallet and space on the bar, I usually just put out a couple kinds of mix instead. My favorite mix is McClure’s bloody mary mix. They make delicious pickles, so it’s no surprise that their mix is delicious as well. Other mix ins that I include are several kinds of hot sauce (Frank’s, Tabasco, etc.), steak sauce (A1 or we brought back this delicious sauce from our recent trip to Costa Rica called Lizano and it’s like a spicy steak sauce), and if your crowd is really adventurous you can put out beef stock (to make the classic Bloody Bull) or beet juice for an extra healthy effect.
The best part of any bloody mary is assembling your own stirrer. My brother-in-law likes to use this skewer as an appetizer which isn’t the worst idea he’s ever had. I found these thin skewers in different sizes at Meijer, but I’ve also seen them at Target. Meats and cheeses always go over well, and celery sticks are classic. I just cubed up some local Michigan cheese, and I got delicious ‘meat sticks’ from our local butcher called Sobie Meats. You can use salamis or sausages as well. To add something healthy, I added dill sprigs, fresh cucumbers, mini bell peppers, jalapeños, and olives. Some other crowd favorites are candied bacon, regular bacon, mini cheeseburgers, etc. But I don’t have time for that.
For the ease of your guests, you can use large ice cubes and place them into glasses just before your guests arrive. This way you don’t have to man-handle their ice cubes when they are itching for a drink in their hands. All that’s left is to enjoy!