Ice Ice Baby

When summer rolls around, my cocktails get kicked up a notch.  Fresh herbs, fruit and simple syrup can be found floating in my beverages, but who says the fun has to stop there.

My newest thing is making ice from all the fabulous things I find at the farmers market, condiment aisle at Kroger or my humble garden.  Here are three recipes to add a little kick to your cocktails; umbrella in your drink is optional.

Add 1 maraschino cherry to each section of an empty ice cube tray*
Fill tray with water once cherries are all positioned.  
Freeze overnight.

These are super easy and add a little edible treat once the ice melts.  Add them to vodka, bourbon, lemonades, etc.   

*If you want them to be perfect little cherry balls, be sure to use the round push out ice cube tray by Chef Craft.  The pliable silicone bottoms on each individual divot make it simple to pop out the gumdrop shaped cubes. 

Honey Ginger Mint 
Pour fresh ginger juice into empty ice cube trays until each section is 3/4 filled.
Add a drop of local honey to each section of the ice cube tray.
Chop fresh mint and add a pinch to each section of the ice cube tray.
Freeze overnight.

These are great in mint juleps, limeades, and iced teas.  You can leave out the mint and serve bourbon on the rocks with a ginger honey twist - the taste of the drink will change as your ice melts!

Red, White & Booze 
Puree strawberries until you can fill 1/3 of each section of the ice cube tray.
Allow layer to freeze, about 1 hour.
Pour coconut water on top of the strawberry puree, leaving 1/3 of each section free for blue layer.
Allow layer to freeze, about 1 hour.
Pour Blue Curacao* until each section is filled to the top. 
Allow ice cubes to freeze no less than 4 hours before serving.

These are perfect little cubes to add to vodka and soda cocktails served on the Fourth of July.  Keep the beverage clear to ensure your hard work is seen clearly in the glass.

*Booze does not naturally freeze, so you need to stick to products no more than the 50-60 proof range (25-30% alcohol by volume).



Adventures in Infused Vodka

As some of you may already know, I am a regular contributor for the rather amazing Bourbon & Boots.  The story I wrote last month was on infused vodka, so you can imagine my surprise when I read an article in the local paper on Sunday stating the local Alcohol and Beverage Commission would be cracking down on local bars and restaurants that add flavors to alcohol if they do not have a distilling license.  Guess there is no better time to start infusing my own varieties on the regular.

When I was doing research for my article, I decided to try out a place in town that specializes in the craft. Past Perfect, a little gem off the Broadway strip, offers an alternative to the flashy neon signs and loud honky-tonks. Before I could even take a seat, the first things I noticed were the numerous jugs lining the counter behind the bar.  It was there that I learned about the process of liquor infusion. It couldn’t be simpler, and my results were pretty spectacular.

  1. As with most anything that comes out of a southern kitchen, everything is better made from scratch. Start with plain liquor – nothing already flavored.
  2. Pick a flavor – vanilla bean, citrus peels, fruit slices, hard candies, herbs, etc. Generally, the infusion works best if you use one to three pieces of fruit/veggies; one to two fistfuls of herbs; two to four fistfuls of berries; and as many peppers as you can handle.
  3. Fill your container with the flavor of choice and vodka. You can use canning jars like I did, or recycle those old liquor bottles if you want a larger batch. If you are using peppers, you might want to add a little water to keep the burn to a minimum.
  4. Let the concoction sit at room temperature for four or five days. Give it a good shake at least once a day. If using peppers, the longer you infuse the more heat the final product will bring. Taste-test it after 24 hours to ensure you do not end up with something sinfully spicy.
  5. Ta-da! You now have naturally flavored vodka, which you can use in a variety of cocktail recipes. 


June Mood Board

Where did May go?  I have been busy working with clients on organizing projects, dinner parties, and moving services.  The later meant lots of Craigslist selling, eBay listing, moving company securing and packing-packing-packing!  

While life away from my computer has been steady, my blog posting fell by the wayside.  What better time to get things going again than the start of a new month.  This month I am finding myself drawn to black & white, clean lines and pops of bright colors. 

Speaking of bright colors, who doesn't love peonies?  Crazy people, that's who.  A single stem in a lovely shade of bright pink makes my day.  Here are a few other things that have my attention as of late....

Pie Birds:  Get a better pie and a cleaner oven when you put a pie bird in the center.  They are super cute and kitschy, so that doesn't hurt either.  Oh, and did I mention a cleaner oven?

PoppiesWhile bright colors are inspiring me, I am also drawn to one color prints.  Wayne Pate is the newest artist to grab my attention, and his poppies are my favorite.

Glycerin Soap:   Imperial Face + Shave Soap is amazingI only use it on my legs, but no more drying or residue post shave.

Travel CaseFrom gloss to floss, rings to travel-sized things, this Ikat print travel case from Stella & Dot is amazing.

Photo Album:  Times are changing, and so are the size of our photos.  Instagram is great, but where do you put the prints?  In a custom album, that's where.  

Happy June! 
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