THE QUINTESSENTIAL MARDI GRAS COCKTAIL

Anyone looking to get their Mardi Gras party started – and quickly – knows that it only takes a few of New Orleans’ signature Hurricane cocktail to do the trick. And if you’ve ever had one you can attest to the fact that they’re difficult to resist. The rum and juice combine into some kind of adult version of Hawaiian Punch with a fancy garnish. The creation of this passion fruit-flavored libation is credited to New Orleans tavern owner Pat O’Brien who poured the concoction into hurricane-lamp-shaped glasses to give away to sailors in the ’40’s. 

If you ever get the chance to visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras, you’ll find the drink all over town – mostly in plastic cups because although drinking is allowed in the streets, glass containers are not. But there’s nothing better than a Hurricane in it’s traditional vessel, so grab a few at BevMo, Target or Bed Bath & Beyond and get ready to celebrate just like your fellow revelers in the French Quarters. 

This Mardi Gras, I decided to take a page out of Pat O’Brien’s cocktail invention book and have a little fun in the Gidget’s Cocktail Lounge Test Kitchen. Truth be told, I couldn’t find any passion fruit juice and decided it was time to come up with a little Gidget twist on the traditional Hurricane. I’ve blind tested these at a few parties and everyone loves my version so I’m confident you’ll be happy with the results. Since I’m all about the classics, I’ve also provided the traditional recipe below which is just as lovely and fun to make.

Gidget Hurricane 2

GIDGET’S TWISTED HURRICANE

TOOLS :: Crushed ice, shaker
GLASS :: Hurricane shaped or large Collins
EXTRAS :: Orange wedge and cherry for garnish
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails
INGREDIENTS ::
2 oz. Dark Rum (or Dark Spiced Rum)
2 oz. Light Rum
1 oz. Galliano
4 oz. fresh squeezed orange juice
4 oz. unsweetened pineapple juice
2 good tablespoon scoops of “Hawaii’s Own” Paradise Punch frozen juice concentrate*
1 oz. lime juice

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
Fill shaker with ice.
Add all ingredients above.
Fill glasses with crushed ice and strain mixture to fill.
Top with garnish and more crushed ice.

TRADITIONAL HURRICANE – Same tools and instructions as above but with traditional juices.

INGREDIENTS ::
2 oz White rum
2 oz Dark rum
1 oz Lime juice
1 oz Orange Juice
2 oz Passion fruit juice (such as Goya)
.5 oz Simple syrup
.5 oz Grenadine

Gidget Hurricane

COCKTAIL HACKS
I realize that not every home bar comes stocked with fun spirits such as Galliano, so if you don’t have this sweet herbal Italian liqueur in your bar, no worries. As a quick cocktail hack, you can sub-out the Galliano for a tiny dash (less than 1/8 teaspoon) of Anise Extract. I picked this up at my local grocery store and found that it works fine. Also, the “Hawaii’s Own” frozen juice is my go-to frozen favorite (it’s just so easy!), but if you find Passion Fruit Nectar you can use 2 oz. of that in the Gidget’s Twisted Hurricane recipe instead of the frozen concentrate.

New Orleans is a really, really fun place to visit but if you can’t head to the Big Easy this year, either of these recipes will help you party in Mardi Gras style right from home. Grab some party beads and have fun just like you’re in the French Quarters!

TIPSY ARNOLD PALMER ~ A SUMMERTIME CLASSIC

Have you ever noticed that as soon as summer hits, most things in life become less complicated? Life in the summer simply slows down a bit. Meals during the summer equate to anything quick on the BBQ, grilled veggies and a salad. Summer simplicity even takes over my wardrobe. I just reach for that light and flowing summer dress, slip on my jazzy sandals and I’m out the door, ready for the day.

Even when our family schedule boasts errands and to-do lists, there’s always an undercurrent of an upcoming vacation to calm me, or the promise of summer evenings that go on forever that beckon me back into that slower summertime pace.

For those uncomplicated summer get-togethers and impromptu afternoons on the front porch watching the sunset, I’ve got a drink for you that partners well with the effortless mood of the season. Enter the Arnold Palmer, a classic cocktail made by combining equal parts of tea and lemonade with ice.

GidgetTipsyArnoldPalmerSingle

While I think we can safely say that the combination of lemon and tea have been enjoyed for centuries, it was golfing great Arnold Palmer who made the mixture famous during the 1960s and we’ve been enjoying his namesake ever since. When you think about it, there’s nothing better to quench your thirst and cool you down more than either ice tea or lemonade so combining the two is sheer genius!

Even though it’s tough to enhance a true classic like iced tea or the Arnold Palmer, I’m going to add a little booze to the mix for a truly delicious — and simple — summer cocktail that you can have at the ready to enjoy on one of those awesome summer evenings.

TIPSY ARNOLD PALMER

Get started by making your Arnold Palmer base of tea and lemonade. Once you’ve got these key ingredients made and chilling in the fridge, simply grab a glass, add a little booze and you’re ready any time for celebrating or just satisfying that summertime thirst. Besides, I think spiked tea is the best tea of all!

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TOOLS ::  Saucepan for boiling, measuring cups, pitcher for chilling and muddler
GLASS ::  Mason jar in any size
EXTRAS :: Oranges, lemons (make wheels, wedges, or spirals) and mint for garnish
SERVINGS ::  1 pitcher

INGREDIENTS ::
Iced tea
6 cups water
8 bags of black tea
1/2 cup sweetening agent (honey, turbinado sugar, crystals, or granulated sugar)

Lemonade
The bonus of making your own lemonade is you can control the level of sweetness — or tartness — by adding more lemons or sugar to your liking. If you’re short on time and just want to get your party started, a good quality pre-made lemonade is perfect!
For all you DIY’ers out there, check out our Classic Gidget+LaRue Lemonade, check out our recipe HERE.

For each cocktail
1.5 ounces Wild Turkey American Honey Bourbon

GidgetTipsyArnoldPalmerWildTurkey

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
Iced tea
 – Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
– Remove from heat, add tea bags and let steep for 5-10 minutes.
– Remove tea bags and add sweetening agent of your choice, stirring until dissolved.
– Taste for your desired level of sweetness, adding sweetener until you’re happy with the       flavor and set aside.

Tipsy Arnold Palmer
 – In a pitcher, combine equal parts of sweetened tea and lemonade and let chill for at least 1 hour or refrigerate overnight. Stir again before serving.
– Garnish pitcher with citrus slices.
– Place a few slices of lemon and orange in bottom of each cocktail glass and muddle gently to release flavors of citrus.
– Add bourbon and fill glass to top with ice.
– Fill glass with Arnold Palmer tea/lemonade mixture and give it a good stir.
– Garnish with mint and additional citrus.

GidgetTipsyArnoldPalmerDouble

TIP :: The “Vodka Hack”

If you aren’t willing to dive into the sweet deliciousness that is Wild Turkey American Honey Bourbon (even though I really think you should try this!), you can always keep your tipsy Arnold Palmer more on the lemony side of things by using only lemons and Citrus Vodka instead of the oranges and bourbon.

This version keeps the flavor very refreshing and you’ll be amazed at how you can’t even tell you’re drinking spiked tea!

TIP #2 :: The “Life is Busy Hack”

While making fresh lemonade and black iced tea will make this cocktail epic, sometimes we need to embrace the simplicity of summer and cut some corners to keep life easy.

I found Arizona Sweet Tea in jugs at the dollar store nearby and when added to some store-bought lemonade, it did the trick in a pinch.

The mixture will certainly be sweeter than making your own tea and lemonade, but you can balance that out with fresh lemons and oranges muddled into the drink or added to your chilled pitcher.

YOUR GO-TO CHRISTMAS COCKTAIL

There’s one word that keeps coming up for me during this holiday season: simple. So when I found this cocktail, it was like the Holy Grail of easy-yet-elegant holiday drinks. In the interest of keeping this post equally simple {since if you’re like me you’re probably freaking out about the fact that Christmas is now only 5 days away}, I’m introducing you to a cocktail that will surely become your go-to holiday drink. THE POINSETTIA! Serve this drink at a brunch with friends, at your next holiday party or enjoy it after a long day of shopping. Bottom line ~ it’s easy and delish so I’m sure you’ll fall in love with it like I did. Enjoy!

Festive bubbly!

Festive bubbly!

THE POINSETTIA

TOOLS :: Citrus peeler
GLASS :: Flute
EXTRAS ::  Orange peel spiral – 2” long
SERVINGS :: 1 cocktail

INGREDIENTS* ::
1 ½  oz. Cranberry Juice Cocktail
3 oz. Chilled Champagne

HOW TO MAKE IT ::

  • Add Cranberry Juice cocktail to flute
  • Top with Champagne
  • Twist orange peel spiral directly over top of cocktail and drop into drink

* NOTE :: If you’re in the mood to add a bit more punch to this cocktail you can do so with just one extra ingredient :: vodka. For a festive alternative, in your flute pour 1 oz. vodka and reduce cranberry juice to only 1 oz. Stir to combine. Add crushed ice to fill flute. Top drink off with champagne and garnish as above.

SHAKEN, NOT STIRRED: HOW TO BUILD A DIRTY MARTINI

Martinis play an important role in the life of James Bond. They’re nearly as famous as his fast cars and the Bond girls. But it’s that phrase, “shaken, not stirred,” that many of us have tried to mimic with just the right amount of 007 swagger when ordering a cocktail. Admit it, you’ve tried!

Well, with the latest and greatest Bond film which hit theaters on November 6th, I thought it was time to dive a little deeper into the mystique of the martini. Daniel Craig will be playing the debonair spy for the fourth time in the film, which was filmed on location in London, Mexico City, Rome, Tangier, and Erfoud in Morocco. All so exotic! When it comes to world premieres, nobody does it better than 007, so I’m here to help you embrace the secret agent way of life and mix an impressive dirty martini along with the best of them.

James certainly would have loved this one...

James certainly would have loved this one…

GETTING INTO THE SPY GAME

Bond’s cocktail of choice is the vodka martini, but did you know the reason he asks for the cocktail to be ‘shaken, not stirred’ is because a traditional martini should actually be stirred?

Mixology rule number one states that any cocktail containing only spirits — in this case vodka and dry vermouth — should be stirred over ice in a cocktail mixing glass, not shaken in a cocktail shaker. Bond claims to appreciate the extra chill shaking provides, and many people like to see those small ice shards in their cocktail, as well. If you want to follow in the footsteps of James, get that shaker out and get ready to chill that martini.

Now that I’ve cleared that up, there are other considerations for creating the ultimate martini:

Vodka or gin?
First you need to decide if you want your cocktail created with vodka or with gin. Either spirit works well, so it’s a matter of preference. We all know Mr. Bond prefers vodka, but gin is the original ingredient for a martini.

Did you know that three different vodkas have been featured in the Bond films? Smirnoff was the original endorsed brand, then it was replaced by Stolichnaya. InDie Another Day, Finlandia was the vodka of choice.

How dry?
Dry vermouth is the only other ingredient in a martini, and it’s up to you to determine how much you’d like in your cocktail. Ordering a martini without specifying will give you anywhere from six drops to about a half capful of vermouth. Ordering your martini “dry” reduces that by about half.

Some bartenders merely place the vermouth into the martini glass, swirl it around to coat the insides and then toss the leftover liquid. An “extra dry” martini either has no vermouth or less than a splash.

How dirty?
Ordering a dirty martini means you’ll get a few splashes of the briny olive juice from the cocktail olive jar mixed into your martini. Lots of people love the extra flavor this juice provides, so feel free to ask for “extra dirty” if you want to really taste that olive flavor.

Olives or onions...no one is judging...

Olives, onions or even a lemon peel  – no one is judging…


Garnish

Chances are if you’ve ordered a dirty martini, you’re looking for a few olives in your cocktail. All good — feel free to ask for the number you’d like if you don’t know your bartender. Another standard garnish for a martini is a long lemon peel. Be sure to ask if you have a preference.

 

 

 

 

The “other” martini
Keep in mind that if you’d prefer your martini garnished with a cocktail onion instead of an olive, you are ordering a Gibson martini, which is made in the same fashion as steps one and two above, but ensures you’re substituting an onion (and onion juice if you’re inclined) for your cocktail.

LIVE & LET DRINK
Now that you’ve got the intel on martinis, let’s get down to actually shaking one up for you and your guests. You’ve had time to think about your base spirit, your vermouth, and your garnish, so get all those lined up like a pro and let’s get shaking!

HOW TO MAKE A DIRTY MARTINI
Tools :: 
Cocktail shaker, extra ice
Glass :: Martini
Extras :: Cocktail olives in juice (or cocktail onions in juice or lemons for twists)
Servings :: 1 cocktail

INGREDIENTS ::
2 1/2 ounces vodka or gin
Half a capful or less of dry vermouth
2 teaspoons of olive brine from a jar

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
Before mixing cocktails, place ice into martini glass and fill with cool water. Set aside. This method ensures the coldest of glasses for your cocktail. Fill shaker with ice and pour vermouth and vodka into shaker. Spoon 2-3 teaspoons of olive brine into shaker. Shake until your hand chills — about 30 seconds or more. Dump ice and water from martini glass. Strain martini into chilled glass. Garnish with olives and enjoy!

Once you’ve made a few martinis, you’ll be able to fine-tune your flavor preference by adding or reducing the amount of vermouth or olive brine to your liking. You can also experiment with the Gibson martini and see how you like the onion versus the olive.

These days, bars are also substituting dill pickles and juice instead of the olives for a whole new take on the dirty martini! While I’m not sure Mr. Bond would look quite so debonair with a dill pickle garnish, just get that accent down and you might be onto something! For another James Bond martini, check out the Vesper cocktail made famous in the movie Casino Royale.

PUMPKIN SHANDY

Sometimes nothing beats an ice cold beer served in a chilled glass. Pumpkin Ales are original American style ales that are often released as seasonal fall beers by many breweries. There’s no doubt that fall is the season for pumpkin flavors and we’re thrilled to bring you a drink that turns the tastes of the season into a delicious shandy. Traditionally made with lemon and beer, this fantastic twist on the classic shandy was designed by Kyle Ford, Cointreau’s master mixologist. You’ll love how the citrus flavor plays so well with the spicy pumpkin ale.

For other Pumpkin Ale inspired cocktails, check out the article I wrote for TheGoodStuff for some recipes.

Pumpkin Shandy

TOOLS :: Cocktail shaker, strainer
GLASS ::  Old Fashioned/Highball
EXTRAS :: thin slice of orange + fresh grated nutmeg for garnish
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails
INGREDIENTS ::

  • 2 oz. Cointreau
  • 2 oz. fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 heaping spoonfuls of Pumpkin Butter (we love Trader Joe’s version)
  • 8-10 oz. Pumpkin Ale

DIRECTIONS ::
In an ice-filled cocktail shaker, add Cointreau, lemon juice and Pumpkin Butter. Shake well and use a fine wire strainer to double strain the mixture evenly between two cocktail glasses. Top each with beer. Stir to combine and garnish with orange slice and grated nutmeg.

LABOR DAY PARTY IDEA ~ THROW AN END OF SUMMER BASH!

I have mixed emotions about the end of summer. While I’m going to miss the warm nights and long days with family and friends, I do look forward to the Labor Day holiday as a time to transition into that fall state of mind. Although I’m not quite ready to turn in my summer sandals for tall black boots, I am ready to embrace the last weeks of summer the right way by launching into the Labor Day holiday and throwing an End of Summer cocktail party!

With delicious food, refreshing drinks, and good company, everyone loves a great party. But how do you make sure your end of summer cocktail party is truly great? I think throwing a picnic-style party extends the casual feeling of summer for all your guests. From there you’ll need a fantastic cocktail (or three!), some entertainment to keep your guests mingling and amused, and one final surprise to send them all home smiling. Check out the article we wrote for TheGoodStuff to see how to easy it can be!

As always, we think it’s fun to start off with the cocktail menu, so here’s a great way for you to have a little fun pumping up the patriotic theme for the Labor Day holiday. Everyone loves a good cocktail, and what a better way to get your party started then by offering them three delicious drinks to choose from?

Mason jar cocktails in red, white & blue? 'Merica!

Mason jar cocktails in red, white & blue? ‘Merica!

Pre-mix each cocktail and place them in Mason jars (you can use the 8-ounce size) so have time to enjoy mingling with your guests. With a simple, hand-drawn sign, a stack of lime wedges, and a bucket of ice you’re ready to celebrate in red, white, and blue style! Your guests simply grab a jar with their libation of choice, remove the cap, and add some ice and a lime wedge. Voila, cocktails are served!

Recipes below and ingredients listed are per cocktail.

Red Cosmo

  • 2 ounces citrus vodka (regular vodka works fine, too)
  • 1 ounce Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1 1/2 ounces cranberry juice

White Gin & Tonic

  • 2 ounces quality gin
  • 5 ounces tonic (I love Schweppes or Fever Tree)
  • Juice from one wedge of fresh lime

Blue Margarita

  • 3 ounces silver tequila
  • 1 ounce blue Curaçao
  • 1 1/2 ounces fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce Cointreau or Grand Marnier
  • 1/2 ounce simple syrup

As the carefree days and warm nights of summer come to a close, let everyone enter into fall with wonderful memories of an afternoon spent with friends enjoying the warmer weather and a few cocktails. There will be smiles all around!

Gidget_LaborDay2

 

BUILD YOUR OWN BLOODY MARY BAR

We love a cocktail party and quite frankly Bloody Mary’s are one of our favorite classic cocktails. So why not marry the two? You see, not only do we love Bloody Mary’s because you get away with drinking an amazing cocktail during the daylight hours (no judging here), but we also love that you can add all kinds of delicious, savory and salty mini-appetizers right into your drink! Since Bloody Mary’s provide the perfect opportunity to host a brunch cocktail party, we thought it time to provide a DIY bar with all the key ingredients for you to enjoy this true classic and show off your hostess skills.  Behold: the Bloody Mary Bar.

The secret to a great Bloody Mary Bar is having a lot of options for your guests to choose from. We’ve compiled a list of ingredients we think are essential (and a lot of fun) to setting up the perfect bar. Since everyone likes their brunch cocktail a little differently, you can pick and choose your favorite ingredients to customize your bar to reflect your own personal style.

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Juice
A prepared tomato juice makes it simple to serve Bloody Mary’s to a crowd. We think it’s important to choose a quality juice with good ingredients like real tomatoes, horseradish and spices for the best flavor. If you’re feeling adventurous enough to mix the Bloody Mary juice from scratch, you’ll need a few essentials like lemon and lime juice, horseradish, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix everything together in a pitcher, and keep it simple; a basic mix makes an ideal starting point for guests, who can add their favorite flavorings from your bar. We provided one basic version and another pre-spiced version for that extra kick! Since juice is a major part of any Bloody Mary Bar, feel free to play around with V8, Clamato juice (using Clamato makes this a Bloody Caesar!) or other tomato-based concoctions.

Booze
BloodyMaryBoozeMost people instantly think Vodka when they order a Bloody Mary. While this traditional take on this cocktail is fine, don’t rule out other liquors to experiment with. First on the list: Tequila! This version is called a Bloody Maria and it’s delicious. The benefit of building your own bar is that you can put out any base spirit you’d like. Got Gin? Gin works great with Bloody Mary’s. Hot Pepper Vodka? Try it! Think of it as science with tomato juice! Bar set-up tip: be sure to put a shot glass next to each bottle you choose.

Glass Rimming Spices
Everyone knows you need ground pepper on hand for your Bloody Mary Bar, but there is a world of wonderful spices just waiting to perk up your cocktail. Many people love adding Celery Salt to their BM, and we’ve fallen in love with rimming our glass with Old Bay Seasoning which adds a spicy yet smoky touch to every sip. If you want to go classic, make sure to plate up some kosher salt so those salt crystals are nice and chunky.

Spice-It-Up Sauces
A group of delicious hot sauces at the end of your Bloody Mary Bar is a way to help guests enjoy adding that final personal accent on their creation. A group of sauces that range from mild to fiery hot gives everyone the chance to experiment and build a cocktail that meets their spicy preference. Tabasco is an all-time favorite and Worcestershire sauce is simply a must have. From there you can have fun adding any hot sauce that suits your fancy.

Fresh Veggies & Citrus
We’ve seen every vegetable under the sun in a Bloody Mary Bar, but we think Bloody Mary’s simply need a little citrus. It’s an essential element that adds the right balance to the drink. We think the more the merrier (pun intended!) so be sure to have lots of lovely lemon and lime wedges on hand for that essential zing! Another classic and essential Bloody Mary element is the celery stick. Not only do they look beautiful grouped together on your bar, but they provide each cocktail with a fresh swizzle stick! Carrot sticks, cherry tomatoes and cucumber wheels are other great additions.

Gidget_BloodyMary_Garnish

Pickled Goodies
Take a peek at the photos above for a few ideas on how to stock your BMB with some fun pickled and marinated garnishes that will bring any cocktail to life. Classic items start with cocktail olives and onions, then expand into other varieties like pepperoncinis, roasted peppers, pickled asparagus or even pickled green beans. Let your imagination run free on items in this category because almost anything pickled – we love pickled ochre for example – will work with your Bloody Mary.

Meats & Fish
This is where you can get a little adventurous with your Bloody Mary Bar garnishes. Bacon swizzles are all the rage right now along with pepperoni sticks. We think any way to add bacon to a cocktail is worth trying, so we sprinkled ours with some brown sugar before grilling and highly recommend the combination. For the Bloody Maria, sliced chorizo sausage is a perfect compliment to the tequila. From there you can add in rolled proscuitto, boiled shrimp and steamed oysters to give your BMB the full gambit of protein and flavor.

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FINISHING TOUCHES – Now that you’ve got your shopping list of ingredients lined up, there are a few other things to consider to make your Bloody Mary Bar absolutely top notch fabulous!

Signage
Let’s face it – not everyone knows how to mix a good cocktail. Providing a little direction so guests can easily mix their own cocktail keeps the conversation entertaining and helps guide even a rookie mixologist. We used an old frame and a water-based paint marker to help our guests follow the Bloody Mary making process and the sign became the backdrop for our table so it doubled as decoration! 

Glassware
To serve your cocktails, you don’t need to set the bar up with fancy large glasses that require a lot of juice and ice to fill them. In fact, given how much people will enjoy making their Bloody Mary’s and adding all those custom garnishes, you might consider a glass that’s no bigger than an Old Fashioned. It’s the perfect size and everyone will want to come back for seconds so this controls portion sizes.

Gidget_BloodyMary_Garnish2Serving Containers
When it comes to providing vessels for your pickled goodies and veggies, think mid-size containers. You don’t need to spend a lot of money on containers for your Bloody Mary Bar, but unifying them with a color or shape helps to showcase the ingredients. Have some fun thinking outside the box and get creative with your containers. We hit up our local thrift store and found these glass containers for a dollar a piece and they worked great!

Ice
You’re going to need quite a bit of ice for all those cocktails your guests will be making! Set up a fancy ice bucket and ice scooper next to your glassware for a special touch. Be ready to keep an eye on the ice and keep it filled at all times. We recommend a few extra bags of ice in your freezer for quick and easy refills.

GidgetBloodyMaryCocktailDouble

Bloody Mary’s are a classic cocktail meant to be enjoyed at a brunch with friends, but who wants to worry about making cocktail after cocktail when each one requires a bit of tinkering to satisfy the flavor preference of each guest? Solve this conundrum without running yourself ragged and still make sure everyone gets a drink they’ll love! Follow the guidelines above and build a memorable Bloody Mary Bar. Your friends will have a blast mixing and customizing their cocktails and they’ll have you to thank!

GET BRUNCH STARTED RIGHT WITH AN EASTER LILY COCKTAIL

The Easter bunny’s not the only one who can bring treats to your Easter brunch celebration! How about a delicious cocktail to kickstart your brunch menu?

The foundation for this cocktail is a drink that debuted in New Orleans, called the Ramos Gin Fizz. Created by a guy named Henry C. Ramos in 1888, the original instructions dictated that it be shaken for a total of 12 minutes, requiring a bit of a bartender relay. We’ve modified the recipe and the shaking method (Hello blender!) to make this easier for all you hostesses out there! Trust us – this cocktail is known for its deliciousness and its ability to kick-start many a brunch celebration, so plan to greet each of your guests with an Easter Lilly as they arrive ~ the perfect set up for a beautiful day.

The ultimate "cocktail appetizer".

The ultimate “cocktail appetizer”.

EASTER LILY

TOOLS :: Blender
GLASS :: Highball or Wine Goblet ~ your choice
EXTRAS :: Fresh ground nutmeg for garnish
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails

INGREDIENTS ::

  • 4 oz. gin {you can use Vodka if you want, but give the gin a try!}
  • 1 oz simple syrup (1:1)
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 fresh egg white
  • 2 oz. heavy cream
  • 1 tsp Orange Flower Water
  • 1 oz. club soda, chilled

HOW TO MAKE IT :: Combine the first 7 ingredients in a blender without ice and blend on low to combine for 1 minute. Add 1 cup of ice to liquid ingredients and blend on medium-high for at least 2 minutes. Pour into a glass, top with club soda and stir. Garnish with ground nutmeg.

Leprechaun’s Kiss – St. Patrick’s Day Cocktail

How many times will you hear, “Kiss Me! I’m Irish!”on St. Patrick’s Day? This simple cocktail provides a fun twist on an classic and gives you an after-dinner drink option with the flavor of a Thin Mint or Peppermint Patty (no pun intended!). Besides, don’t you think that kissing a leprechaun would be sweet?! Read how to make our Leprechaun’s Kiss below and then take a look at our other St. Patrick’s Day lucky green cocktails we put together for our partner, TheGoodStuff!

We think that a green cocktail in your hand counts as wearing green for St. Pat's so ENJOY!

We think that a green cocktail in your hand counts as wearing green for St. Pat’s so ENJOY!

LEPRECHAUN’S KISS

TOOLS :: Shaker
GLASS :: Martini
SERVINGS :: 2 cocktails
INGREDIENTS ::

  • 2 oz. Creme de Menthe {green}
  • 2 oz. Creme de Cacao {white}
  • 2 oz. Heavy cream {in a pinch, you can use half-and-half}

HOW TO MAKE IT ::
Add all ingredients to a shaker and fill with fresh ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Gidget_LeprechaunsKiss

OLD HOLLYWOOD COCKTAILS FOR YOUR OSCAR PARTY

From red carpet interviews and designer ball gowns to acceptance speeches and parties, the Academy Awards are hard to resist watching. And we’ve found that the best way to enjoy the show is with a bunch of friends and, of course, a delicious cocktail in hand.

While any good cocktail will do, we’ve discovered a number of recipes that are inspired by classic movie stars. We’ve done some research on the Golden Age of Hollywood and its classic cocktails. Who knew the French 75 played a role in Casablanca?! This year, elevate your Oscars viewing party by mixing up one of these delicious old Hollywood cocktails and raise a glass to all the nominees — and Neil Patrick Harris! Lights, camera, cheers!

With such glamour and history, we think the best salute to 87 years of the Academy warrants an elegant martini bar for your awards party. With recipe cards and the simplest of ingredients, your guests will be shaking & stirring their way into Hollywood’s Golden Age in no time. To learn all about the movies in which these delish martinis played a starring role, and for more cocktail + movie trivia, visit our latest article HERE.

With just a few simple ingredients and some instruction signs your guests will be mixing and shaking away!

With just a few simple ingredients and some instruction signs your guests will be mixing and shaking away!

For all Martinis:
Tools: Cocktail shaker, ice, strainer & garnishes. Recipe cards for instructions (optional)

Gibson Martini

  • 2 oz. Bombay Sapphire Gin
  • Splash of dry vermouth (use the bottle’s cap, fill halfway and add)
  • Cocktail onion

Shake with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with pearl onion.

Classic Martini

  • 2-1/2 oz. Vodka
  • Splash of dry vermouth (use the bottle’s cap, fill halfway and add)
  • Twist of lemon rind

Shake with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with lemon twist.

Dirty Martini

  • 2 oz. Vodka
  • Splash of dry vermouth  {use the bottle’s cap, fill halfway and add}
  • 1/2 oz. olive juice from jar
  • 1-3 green cocktail olives

Shake with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with two olives.

Here’s a printable PDF of the martini signs. We backed them with black glittery paper found at the craft store to give them a bit more ‘umph’!

OscarMartiniBarSigns

6 FABULOUS CHAMPAGNE COCKTAILS

If you’re ever in doubt about what beverage to serve for New Year’s Eve, you can’t go wrong with champagne. It’s low in calories, puts everyone in the mood to celebrate and who doesn’t love the sound of pop and fizz! Bubbles seem to be the perfect way to end the year, so raise your glasses one last time this year and ring in 2015 with one of these delicious champagne cocktails.

Visit our latest blog HERE for some excellent champagne cocktail ideas and a few good Champagne 101 tips! Here are a few last minute cocktails to get you started. CHEERS!

From left to right :: Champagne Cocktail, Kir Royale and Limoncello Sparkle

From left to right :: Champagne Cocktail, Kir Royale and Limoncello Sparkle

Champagne Cocktail – The champagne shines through in this classic ~ with a hint of added flavor from spirits, bitters and citrus peel.

  • 1 sugar cube
  • 6+ shakes of Angostura bitters
  • Champagne
  • Lemon or orange peel twist, for garnish

Soak sugar cube in bitters and drop into glass. Top with champagne and garnish with lemon peel.

Kir Royale – The Kir Royale is a swanky champagne and cream de cassis (black currant) cocktail that looks and tastes great. This cocktail can be served year-round.

  • 1/2 oz. Creme de Cassis
  • Champagne
  • Lemon twist or blackberries, for garnish

Fill flute with champagne, top with creme de cassis and garnish.

Limoncello Sparkler – This sparkling cocktail gets an added dose of sweetness and sun thanks to a splash of limoncello. The recipe comes from Kim Haasarud’s book, 101 Champagne Cocktails.

  • 1 oz. Limoncello
  • 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • Champagne
  • Lemon peel twist, for garnish

Combine the limoncello and Cointreau in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a champagne flute. Top with champagne and garnish.

 

HOLIDAY TRADITION ~ HOT BUTTERED RUM

Everyone wants to host an epic holiday party, and the best way to get your party off to the right start this time of year is by serving drinks everyone loves. The holidays provide the opportunity to play with oodles of cinnamon, enjoy that frothy egg nog without guilt, and serve wine with a crystal ladle. Need I say more?

I created a list of holiday cocktails to engage guests at large parties or warm up a few close friends at a smaller celebration. No matter the size of your event, these recipes will fill your home with holiday cheer. Oh what fun it is to cocktail your way through the holidays!

gidget_hotbutteredrum

Hot Buttered Rum
I believe rum has always been an important component of American holiday celebrations, so my primary cocktail tradition starts with a Hot Buttered Rum. I recommend you whip up a batch of batter to keep on hand through the holidays and make extras to give away as holiday gifts with a bottle of rum.

TOOLS ::  Mixing bowl, mixer, airtight container
GLASS :: Old fashioned or glass Irish coffee mug
EXTRAS :: cinnamon stick for garnish
SERVINGS ::  2 cocktails

INGREDIENTS ::
Hot Buttered Rum Batter

  • 1 pound light brown sugar
  • 1/2 pound unsalted butter (softened)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

For each cocktail
2 ounces aged rum {dark rum works fine}
Boiling water

HOW TO MAKE IT :: 

  1. In a mixing bowl, beat together softened butter, brown sugar, vanilla, and spices until well combined. Refrigerate in an airtight container. It’s best  to make the batter at least 48 hours in advance of using, so the spices have an opportunity to mingle (batter will store for up to a month).
  2. Remove batter from the refrigerator at least 6 hours prior to serving, to allow it to soften.
  3. In a preheated mug, combine 2 heaping Tablespoons of batter with the rum.
  4. Top each with boiling water and stir well to mix.
  5. Serve with spoon or swizzle stick.

For a few other festive recipes, check out the article we wrote for TheGoodStuff and we’re sure they will fill your home with holiday cheer.