I feel like everytime I go to the grocery store I grab a pack or two of fresh herbs. Thyme, sage, rosemary, mint…. you can’t go wrong. They freshen up your meals and are perfect for cocktails! But luckily it’s that time of the year where I no longer have to go to the store to get herbs, I get to just reach out my backdoor and pluck a few sprigs from my herb ‘garden’. And when I say garden I mean my hangings pots – which I freaking love the look of!
I’ve played around with a lot of herbs and liquor combos and I think I’ve narrowed it down to Rosemary and Bourbon, Thyme and Gin, and you’re going to think I’m going a little nutso over here, but Cilantro and Mezcal. The Aficionado uses thyme and gin and it’s the perfect cocktail to give a very warm (long-awaited) hello to Summer.
Aficionado | makes 1 cocktail
1 large, juicy lemon 1 sprig fresh thyme 1 tablespoon honey (I used a thyme infused honey) 2 ounces good gin (I used Hendricks) 1 ounce Dry Vermouth
Juice the lemon through a fine-mesh sieve into a small bowl or juicer. Stir honey into lemon juice until dissolved.
Fill a cocktail shaker with ice and pour in lemon juice mixture, gin, thyme sprig and Vermouth. Shake well until the ice has begun to break apart. Place a few ice cubes into a single old fashioned glass and pour drink into glass.
Smack or rub the thyme sprig together in your hands to bring out the flavors a bit more before garnishing your cocktail with it.
Before I start sharing the deets of this festive little cocktail, I want to say a quick thank you to everyone who reached out about my post below. It’s amazing to me that people I haven’t spoke to in years reached out and shared their journey – it really meant a lot.
Ok! Now back to our regularly scheduled programming… holiday cocktails!
The week before Thanksgiving I started testing out cocktails and it’s kind of a two-birds-one-stone situation since Thanksgiving and December holidays are so close. The Blackberry pear smash won Thanksgiving (recipe coming soon!) but this little cranberry peppercorn number might slide into first for our Christmas cocktail.
I have been so intrigued to make a cocktail using pink peppercorns. Pink peppercorns are a dried berry of the shrub Schinus molle, commonly known as the Peruvian peppertree but they don’t have as harsh of a “pepper” taste as say black peppercorns. Turns out, pink peppercorns aren’t even peppers at all! It’s lighter, brighter, and a little pop of spice.
To begin I made a cranberry “compote” using sugar, fresh cranberries, peppercorns and water. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium high heat and let it simmer down into more of a thick liquid consistency. Remove from heat, and cool. Add 1.5 oz. of the mixture, 2 oz. of Gin (or you can substitute with Vodka) shake, pour and top with your favorite sparkling water!
It’s surprisingly a refreshing, light drink which is a great alternative to everyone’s favorite – spiked nog. Which I didn’t try to make my own, but I’m tempted this season to give it a shot!
March is one of those funny months where your mind is telling you that it’s time to pack away your sweaters and Mother Nature is saying “pack away your sweaters?! Oh hunny, check the forecast again.” I have had such a Spring itch since about mid-February so a snowy day in late March is just plain mean! So mean that I decided what the heck, if the weather isn’t going to give me Spring Vibes, I’m going to make a cocktail that does! Insert: The L Train.
This recipe is pulled from the W&P Mason Shaker Cocktail book, Shake. (It’s my go-to cocktail recipe book if you’re in the market.) It’s light, floral, and definitely a refreshing little reminder to stay patient, Spring is just around the corner!
The L Train | Makes two drinks
2 shots gin
1 shot St-Germain
1/2 shot fresh lemon juice
2 sprigs lavender (plus 2 to garnish)
Add the gin, St-Germain, lemon juice and lavender to a shaker.
Add ice to just above the level of the liquid and shake vigorously for 5 seconds.
Strain the mixture into chilled coupe glasses and top with seltzer. Garnish with remaining lavender sprigs.
Last fall J & I were gearing up for our “I do’s” so it seemed like we took a season off from the college-football-watching-snack-filled-lots-of-drinking weekends that we grew accustomed too in our early dating. Since this fall we’re brand spanking new homeowners we can’t put a hard-stop on the weekend honey-do list, but we can definitely press pause for at least a game or two. “Pausing” is something that I’m consciously trying to do a little more often. I tend to get caught up in the constant rushing to and from and worrying about what to do next instead of giving giving myself a break. So trust me when I say, this twist on a mimosa was exactly what the doctor ordered to helped me pause & enjoy the weekend with J so much so I foresee whipping these up again this weekend!
Mature Mimosa Champagne Cocktail | makes 4 cocktails
4 quarter to half-inch rounds of orange (I used Navel Oranges)
10 dashes of orange bitters
1 shot of orange liqueur (I used Patron)
Orange zest strips (to garnish)
Place the orange rounds on foil and broil under high heat until browning with a little bit of charred. Let orange rounds cool. Add orange liqueur, orange rounds, and dash bitters. Muddle together. Add ice above the level of the liquid and give it a quick stir or shake. Pour mixture about 1/3 of the way of your coupe and top with 2/3 champagne. Make it even fancier with a twisted orange peel! Cheers!
Cold weather means bourbon weather. Here in DC, we’re experiencing some unusually warm temps for February (hello 65 degrees & sunny!) but it’s still winter and in winter I like bourbon based drinks & red wine. The warm temps just make me want to drink a little earlier 😉
I shared our absolute favorite favorite bourbon cocktail recipe in this post, but I also like trying a few new ones just to keep it interesting.
Full disclosure; The Big Texan Bourbon calls for Basil and unfortunately I didn’t have anything but rosemary sprigs and some dried herbs when I was making this. I’ve tried dried cooking herbs in cocktails and they just don’t work out that well (insert: brush your teeth after!) so I substituted the basil for rosemary which was still super tasty! I have since tried the cocktail with basil, and that’s super yummy too!
The Big Texan Bourbon | makes one cocktail
2 tablespoons fresh grapefruit juice
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1/2 tablespoon simple syrup
2 basil leaves
1 grapefruit slice or peel
In a cocktail shaker, combine the grapefruit juice, bourbon, simple syrup and basil. Fill a chilled rocks glass with ice. Add 5 ice cubes to the shaker and shake well. Strain the drink into the ice-filled rocks glass. Garnish with the grapefruit peel and cherry.
C’s Tip: Make your own Bourbon-Soaked Cherries:
1 cup bourbon, ⅔ cup sugar, ¼ cup fresh orange juice, 1 1-inch strip orange peel, 1½ teaspoon vanilla extract, ½ pound cherries, pitted
Combine the bourbon, sugar, orange or citrus juice and orange peel in a small saucepan. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer, whisking until the sugar dissolves. Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the vanilla extract. Combine the bourbon mixture and cherries in a container and seal. Cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator and let chill for at least three days before using.