Keep the Holiday Spirit Alive with This Signature Drink!

IMG_7532.PNG

We love soaking up as much holiday spirit as humanly possible! That’s why we’re keeping the spirit alive with this delicious eggnog drink. While some consider eggnog more of a Christmas beverage, we think that you can (and should) enjoy it all winter long! That being said, we love this drink and it’s perfect for large gatherings -- think New Years Eve and beyond. Enjoy!

1545854911684.jpeg

Chocolate Stout Eggnog

  • 3 quarts Eggnog

  • 1 quart Chocolate Stout (we recommend Samuel Smith)

  • ¼ cup Chocolate Syrup, or to taste

  • 6 oz Bourbon

  • Chocolate shavings for garnish

If you’re looking to go really fancy, try making your own eggnog instead of using store bought! We love this recipe from Tastes Better From Scratch! Cheers!

Cocktails To Beat The Summer Heat

IMAGE SOURCE: @TWOLOVESSTUDIO

IMAGE SOURCE: @TWOLOVESSTUDIO

With July just around the corner, the dreaded summer heat and humidity is about to reach an all time high. To help you cool down, we are sharing some of the tastiest and thirst quenching summer cocktail recipes we know. So sit back, relax, and sip!


Lemon Thyme Bourbon Tonics

IMAGE SOURCE: JUNIPER RYE

IMAGE SOURCE: JUNIPER RYE

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 1/2 oz. bourbon
  • 3/4 oz. Amontillado sherry
  • 3/4 oz. Thyme & Honey Syrup
  • 1/4 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 dash bitters
  • 1 large piece fresh thyme (with at least 5 branches)
  • 1 cup hot water (near simmering temperature)
  • 1 cup honey
  • Garnish – lemon wedges/thyme sprigs

For the syrup: In a small bowl, combine the thyme and hot water and let stand for 15 minutes. Next, stir in the honey until it dissolves completely. Let stand 5 minutes, then remove the sprigs of thyme. The remaining mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one month.

For the cocktail: With the syrup prepared, add all the ingredients to a shaker and fill with ice. Shake vigorously, and strain into a glass filled with ice. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme and lemon wedge.


Guava Kombucha Cocktail

IMAGE SOURCE: @THEGAYANDTHEGAL

IMAGE SOURCE: @THEGAYANDTHEGAL

INGREDIENTS:

  • fresh ginger
  • 1 shot vodka
  • guava kombucha

For the cocktail: Muddle ginger with a mortar and pestle. Add to glass with 1 shot of your choice vodka and fill with guava kombucha. Enjoy!


Blood Orange Rose Floats

IMAGE SOURCE: GREEN WEDDING SHOES

IMAGE SOURCE: GREEN WEDDING SHOES

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bottle of Sparkling Rosé
  • blood orange gelato, such as Talenti
  • Fresh Rosemary

For the float: Add a few scoops of gelato in your glass. Then add the sparkling Rose to the glass. Top with a sprig of rosemary and you are good to go!


Blue Margarita

IMAGE SOURCE: @COCKTAILSNG

IMAGE SOURCE: @COCKTAILSNG

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup tequila
  • 1/3 cup blue curacao
  • 1/3 cup triple sec
  • 2/3 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, about 8 limes
  • crushed ice

For the cocktail: In a pitcher combine all ingredients, but the ice, and mix until combines. Add ice to individual glasses and pour drinks over ice!


Spiked Lavender Lemonade

IMAGE SOURCE: CITRUS ON MAIN

IMAGE SOURCE: CITRUS ON MAIN

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 2 ounces Sonoma Syrup Co. lavender simple syrup
  • 2 ounces fresh lemon juice
  • 3 ounces club soda
  • Lemon wheels and a sprig of fresh lavender for garnish (optional)

For the cocktail: Fill a highball (or large rocks) glass with ice. If using garnishes, tuck lemon wheels into the sides of the glass using the ice to hold them in place. Add vodka, lavender simple syrup and lemon juice to glass and stir gently. Top with club soda and garnish with fresh lavender sprig, if desired.


How To Create the Perfect Smoothie

IMAGE SOURCE: @SMOOTHIE_PLANET

IMAGE SOURCE: @SMOOTHIE_PLANET

Smoothies are a delicious and easy go-to snack, post workout meal, or even breakfast;  but creating a healthy and balanced smoothie can be difficult! To have a healthy smoothie, you need the perfect balance of vitamins, minerals, protein, and fats. We are going to break down what each of these are, how much you need, and what foods will help you maintain balance!


NECESSARY NUTRIENTS

VITAMINS are substances your body needs in order to grow normally. You can meet your daily vitamin requirements by simply eating vitamin rich foods! The exception is vitamin D, which you obtain from the sun! The vitamins you need are A, B (thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12 and folate), C, D, E, and K. Each vitamin is responsible for different bodily functions. In a nutshell, vitamin A keeps your immune system, vision, and cellular communication healthy; vitamin B keeps your blood and genetic material healthy; vitamin C helps repair tissue, aids in the absorption of iron, and helps decrease bad cholesterol (LDL); vitamin D keeps your digestive system and skeletal system healthy; vitamin E helps boost your immune system; and vitamin K regulates blood clotting.

MINERALS are compounds found in nature required to keep the body functioning healthily. Mineral functions include, but are not limited to, bone health, heart health, muscle health, organ health, and enzyme and hormone production. There are two types of minerals: macrominerals and microminerals. Your body requires more amounts of macrominerals (calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium, potassium, chloride and sulfur) and small amounts of trace minerals (iron, manganese, copper, iodine, zinc, cobalt, fluoride and selenium).

PROTEIN is found everywhere in the body and makes up the enzymes responsible for carrying out all bodily functions. Proteins are made of amino acids (the building blocks of tissue, muscle, organs, hair, and skin, and are responsible for all metabolic functions), and amino acids are either made in the body or must be consumed. Essential amino acids are those we must consume through foods such as meat, nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, and grains; however, only meat contains all essential amino acids. Vegetarians must eat a variety of these other foods to get all of the amino acids they need.

FAT is essential to have a healthy body, though some fats are healthier than others. Healthy fats, or unsaturated fats, help lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Unsaturated fats can be divided into two categories: polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats include both omega-3 and omega-6 fats. Both are healthy, but increasing your omega-3:omega-6 ratio is recommended. A great way to know if a fat is unsaturated is if it’s liquid at room temperature! Bad fats, or saturated fats, are found in dairy, fatty meats, coconut, palm oil, and most manufactured and packaged foods. Trans fats, another bad fat, are unsaturated fats that have been processed to behave like saturated fats. They are found in processed and packaged foods. Both of these types of fats should be avoided or eaten on occasion. Also, saturated fats are solid at room temperature!



CREATING THE PERFECT SMOOTHIE

BASE (½-1 cup) The base of your smoothie is essentially the liquid ingredient in your smoothie. Great options include 100% fruit juice, milk (regular, almond, soy, rice), coconut water, brewed tea, etc. Try to use a base with no or low sugar content. If your smoothie is too thick, try adding more base!

FRUIT (1-1½ cups) Choose complimentary fruits for both flavor and sugar content. Almost all fruits contain vitamins A-C (remember you get vitamin D from the sun!), and a mix of minerals. We add fruit to our smoothies for both yummy flavors but mostly for the vitamin content! Be cautious of the sugar content in the fruit you are adding. If using a fruit juice as a base, or fruit high in sugar (bananas, apples, pineapple), try balancing with another fruit lower in sugar such as berries! If using frozen fruit make sure there is no added sugar.

VEGGIE (1-2 cups) Veggies are the greatest source of minerals for your smoothie! Go-to veggies should be kale or spinach. Both are high in iron, calcium, and magnesium, as well as vitamins A, E, and K! Carrots, squash (butternut and pumpkin), and sweet potatoes are also amazing sources of vitamins and minerals. We love spinach in our smoothies because it is essentially flavorless compared to all of the other ingredients and blends into tiny pieces that don’t thicken up the smoothie! You can also use veggie juices (no added sugars), to smooth out your smoothie and add more flavor!

PROTEIN (varies) The amount of protein you need in your smoothie depends on why you are drinking one. If it is just a snack, you do not need more than 10 grams of protein, just enough to fill you until your next meal. If your smoothie is for breakfast you need between 15-25 grams of protein. If it is a post workout meal, your protein intake should be much higher, between 20-40 grams to help build and maintain muscle mass. Great sources of protein are cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, silken tofu (vegetarian), or protein powder. For breakfast or a snack, Greek yogurt is our protein of choice! For a post workout meal, we like using both protein powder and Greek yogurt; the yogurt plays a huge role in the smooth and thick consistency of the smoothie! Again be wary of the sugar and fat content in your protein. Choose a protein low in fat and with no added sugar.

HEALTHY FAT (varies) Healthy fats are often forgotten when making a smoothie but they are equally important as any other ingredient! Great healthy fats include ¼ avocado, 1-2 tbsp. seeds (chia, flax, hemp), or 1 tbsp. nut butter. Our favorite fat to add is chia seeds. Chia seeds are packed with omega-3’s, and are additionally full of protein, fiber, antioxidants, magnesium, and calcium!

EXTRAS (varies) Give your smoothie some extra flavor with cocoa powder (80%+ dark), extracts (vanilla, almond, mint), herbs and spices, fish oil, etc. Make sure these extras are low in sugar and only add flavor or more nutrients!


National Margarita Day

Image Source: Yes to Yolks

Image Source: Yes to Yolks

We’re nearing the end of a long, chilly winter, and warm weather is just over the horizon. What better way to celebrate than with a classic fruity drink on National Margarita Day? Thursday, February 22nd is the cocktail’s honorary day this year. Whether you want to go out with your girls and find the best marg in town or you want to grab some tequila and try out some tasty cocktail recipes, we have the total run-down for you!

Image Source: Dessert for Two

Image Source: Dessert for Two

Authentic Mexican restaurants are the best place to swing by for a classic margarita, but they can be pricey. That’s the beauty of National Margarita Day - drink specials galore at some of the priciest restaurants! If you’re not sure where to start, the National Margarita Day website has a list of participating restaurants by state, and a majority of them are authentic places that are sure to serve the best of the best!

If you’re looking for a real bargain this Marg Day, check out the chain restaurants in your area. The drinks might not be as authentic, but they’ll definitely be delicious, and even cheaper! On The Border is just one of the many restaurants running a special for National Margarita Day, and theirs can’t be beat: $2 house margaritas from February 9th through February 22nd, and you can score free queso if you dine in on the big day!

Not really feeling a night out, but still want to treat yourself to a fresh margarita? Shake up some margs right at home! Invite some friends over and try out these three recipes for an easy girls’ night in. We’ve got you covered, whether you’re looking for something sweet, spicy, and different, a classic triple sec and lime marg, or something fruity and frozen!

Sweet and Spicy

Image Source: Bon Appetit

Image Source: Bon Appetit

  • 2 cups plus 2 tablespoons tequila
  • 1-2 habanero chiles, halved
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 cups fresh pink grapefruit juice

How to:

  1. Mix tequila and chiles in a large pitcher.
  2. Let steep 3 hours, or longer if a spicier tequila is desired.
  3. Discard chiles.
  4. Pour enough water onto a small plate to cover.
  5. Pour enough salt onto another small plate to cover by 1/4".
  6. Dip rims of eight 12-ounce. glasses into water, then into salt to lightly coat; fill with ice.
  7. Add grapefruit juice to pitcher with tequila.
  8. Fill with ice; stir until cold.
  9. Divide drink among glasses.

Classic House Margarita

Image Source: On the Boarder

Image Source: On the Boarder

What you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila
  • 1/2 ounce triple sec (Cointreau is recommended)
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • Lime wedge for garnish
  • Salt or sugar to rim the glass (optional)

How to make it:

  1. If desired, salt the rim of a chilled margarita glass.
  2. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.
  3. Shake well.
  4. Strain into the prepared glass with or without fresh ice.
  5. Garnish with the lime wedge.

Fruity and Frozen

Image Source: Mi Madre's Restaurant

Image Source: Mi Madre's Restaurant

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup frozen unsweetened raspberries
  • 1 cup brandy-based orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier®)
  • 3/4 cup gold tequila
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • Lemons Organic
  • 2 tablespoons superfine sugar
  • ice cubes

How to:

  1. Place the raspberries, brandy-based orange liqueur, tequila, lemon juice, and sugar in a blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Serve in glasses over ice cubes.

National Hot Chocolate Day: Chai Hot Chocolate

FontCandy (4).png

Happy National Hot Chocolate Day! To celebrate we’ve decided to share this amazing Chai Hot Chocolate recipe from Now, Forager! Although this recipe takes a little time and finesse, don’t feel daunted! It is easy and definitely worth it! And be sure to read our personal notes and tips at the end to help ease some of your initial hesitations!


FROTHY CHAI HOT CHOCOLATE WITH MILK CHOCOLATE GANACHE

Total Time: 8+ hours (includes ganache cooling & firming time)

Makes: 2 (7 ounce) hot chocolates

 

FOR THE CHAI MILK CHOCOLATE GANACHE:

In a small saucepan bring ½ cup heavy cream, 6 cardamom pods (lightly crushed), ⅛ tsp. black peppercorns (lightly crushed), 6 whole cloves, 1 star anise, ¼ of a vanilla bean's seeds and scraped pod, a pinch of fleur de sel, and 2 tbsp. loose leaf Assam tea to a strong boil. Remove from heat, cover, and let steep for 15 minutes.

Ingredients 1.jpg
Steeping mixture.jpg

Meanwhile, melt 6 oz. of 38%-46% milk chocolate over a double boiler stirring occasionally. Set aside once melted.

Strain steeped cream into a clean bowl and discard spices. Measure amount of cream and transfer back into the saucepan. Add more heavy cream (about ¼ cup)until there is again ½ cup of total cream. Bring to a simmer and then pour over melted milk chocolate.

Ganache.jpg

Gently stir the hot cream into the chocolate with slow small circular motions in the center of the bowl. As it emulsifies, make your circles bigger and mix until the ganache is fully combined and smooth. Let the ganache cool at room temperature until firm (about 8 hours or overnight). To speed up the firming process, you can allow your room temperature ganache to firm up in the refrigerator.

Ganache 3.jpg

FOR THE FROTHY CHAI HOT CHOCOLATE:

Place the ganache into a high speed blender and set aside.

In a small saucepan bring ¾ cup whole milk and a pinch of fleur de sel to a boil. Pour over the ganache in the blender and let sit for 1 minute before placing on blender lid.

Blend on high for 15-20 seconds until frothy. Pour hot chocolate into a mug and add a star anise and light dusting of cinnamon for garnishes.

mug 4.jpg

NOTES & TIPS:

All of these spices can be found in the spice aisle of your grocery store. To help save on cost, most of these spices can be found for considerably less at local Asian grocery stores!

Fleur de sel can be substituted for any course sea salt, although it will not be as crunchy or flavorful. Fleur de sel can be ordered on Amazon if it’s not available at your grocery store.

Don’t skimp on the quality of your milk chocolate! The chocolate ganache is the star of the drink and you want its sweetness to be balanced! Cheap chocolates will make your hot chocolate overly sweet. We used Ghirardelli Milk Chocolate Chips.

If you don’t have a heat resistant bowl to create a double boiler, you can melt the chocolate in the microwave 30 seconds at a time and mixing between each interval.

Any remaining ganache can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 month. This is especially great if you want to make this recipe last a few days!

For extra frothy chai hot chocolate, make each serving separately in the blender! (That is, place only ⅓ of the ganache and ¼ cup of the hot whole milk into the blender at a time.)


Refreshing Summer Cocktails

There's no better way to beat the summer heat than with an ice-cold beverage! To spice things up a little bit, we decided to have some fun this summer and make delicious, thirst-quenching cocktails to enjoy on these hot summer days!


Image Credit:  What The Fork Food Blog
  • 1 bottle moscato
  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1 lime, thinly sliced
  • 2 cups cubed watermelon
  • 2 cups cubed pineapple
  • lemon lime soda

Directions:

1. Pour wine and brandy into a pitcher and stir. Add lime, watermelon, and pineapple.

2. Place fruit in a glass with ice. Pour sangria over and top with lemon lime soda.


  • 1/2 oz. Midori Melon Liqueur
  • 1 1/2 oz. Smirnoff Watermelon Vodka
  • 3 1/2 oz. Lemonade
  • Fresh watermelon chunks

Directions:

1. Add melon liqueur, watermelon vodka, lemonade, and ice cubes to a cocktail shaker.

2. Shake for 30 seconds.

3. Strain into a rocks glass over ice and serve!

Image Credit:  Growing Up Gabel

Image Credit: Growing Up Gabel

July 4th Cocktails

Image Credit: Canvas Press

Image Credit: Canvas Press

With Independence Day right around the corner, it’s time to get started on 4th of July party planning! No party is great without tasty cookouts, loud fireworks, and of course fun, patriotic cocktails!


Image Credit:  Noble Pig

Image Credit: Noble Pig

  • 1 bottle Pinot Noir
  • 1 ½ cup cranberry juice
  • 1 cup brandy
  • 1 orange, freshly squeezed
  • 2 cups blueberries
  • 8 oz. raspberries
  • 6 oz. blackberries
  • 1 apple, sliced thin
 
  • In a large pitcher, add wine, cranberry juice, brandy, and orange juice.
  • Add blueberries, raspberries, blackberries and apple. Chill overnight.
  • Fill glasses with ice then add fruit from the pitcher. Pour liquid over the ice and fruit, garnish and enjoy!
  • 1 ½ oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. lemon juice
  • 1 ½ oz. blue curacao
  • 1 oz. grenadine
  • Splash simple syrup
  • Fill a tall glass with ice, and slowly add the grenadine
  • Next, add blue curacao (slowly)
  • Add lemon juice, simple syrup and vodka to a shaker. Cover and shake until blended.
  • Pour mixture into glass on top of grenadine and curacao.
  • Garnish with fruit and enjoy!
Image Credit:  Budget Savvy Divas

Image Credit: Budget Savvy Divas

Holiday Libations

It's that time of year to bust out the bar cart and start mixing up some festive libations to celebrate the season! (Be sure to check out our Barcart Central post for tips on how to build your barcart!) This season is filled with time spent with friends and family cozyed up inside by the fire and surrounded by holiday cheer. Here are top picks for holiday sips! Cheers!

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup agave nectar
  • 1 cup pear juice
  • 1 bunch fresh rosemary
  • 2 pears, peeled, cored, and sliced
  • Prosecco

 

 

 


Ingredients

  • Sugared Cranberries
  • 2 cups sugar, divided
  • 2 cups fresh cranberries
  • Big Batch Margaritas
  • 1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) silver tequila
  • 2 cups (16 ounces) cranberry juice (not cranberry cocktail)
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) orange juice
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) orange liquor
  • 3/4 cups fresh lime juice
  • 2-4 tablespoons sugar or to taste (OPTIONAL)* or use sugared cranberries
  • salt, for the rim
  • sparkling water, to top the drinks with (OPTIONAL)
  • lime + orange slices, for serving
  • To make just ONE drink
  • 1 1/2 - 2 ounces silver tequila
  • 2 1/2 ounces cranberry juice (not cranberry cocktail)
  • 1/2 ounce orange juice
  • 1/2 ounce orange liquor
  • 1 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1/2-1 tablespoon sugar, or to taste (OPTIONAL)* or use sugared cranberries
  • sparkling water, to top the drink with (OPTIONAL)

Photo Source:  Plum and Oak

Photo Source: Plum and Oak

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Malahat Spiced Rum
  • Fresh-squeezed orange juice
  • Cinnamon simple syrup
  • Garnish with orange zest

 


Source:  Freutcake

Source: Freutcake

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Handful of fresh mint (or fresh peppermint)
  • 2 oz vodka
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 6 oz ginger beer (more or less to taste)
  • Crushed candy cane- for garnish
  • Whole candy cane- for garnish
  • Crushed ice

Source:  Beijos Events

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients:

  • Vanilla Vodka
  • Cranberry Pomegranate Juice
  • Champagne