thirsty thursday: habenero-infused tequila

Well, hello, you little firecracker.

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Never in a million years {especially when I was younger!} did I think that I would develop an affinity for all things spicy. And an even further stretch – spicy cocktails. I mean, who am I? Total crazy talk, right here.

While feeling slightly adventurous a few weeks back, I was immediately drawn to a spicy margarita at one of our favorite spots. Topped off with freshly pressed fruit juice, this drink was too fun to pass up. And the secret ingredient was…habanero-infused tequila! I knew that after my first sip, I had found my new love. I told the hubs that we had to recreate this infusion at home; check out the recipe below for the oh-so-simple steps to make your own!

Happy “thirsty” Thursday, y’all!

 

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Habanero-Infused Tequila

We’re turning up the heat with this one! Sharp white tequila is infused with just a few slices of fiery habanero peppers and left to marry; the result? Lip-burning, but oh-so-perfect for frozen margaritas. 

Ingredients:

1-1/2 cups white tequila

1 habanero pepper, seeds removed and cut into thin rings.

To Prepare:

In a large Mason jar {or any other tightly-sealing container} pour in the white tequila and add in the sliced peppers. Seal tightly and set aside for at least 2-3 days before using. The longer it sits, the better it gets!

…& stay tuned for next week! Your inner cocktail lover will be glad you did ;) we’ve got a fun treat coming up!

thirsty thursday: bulleit rose sangria

Sangria. Need I say more?

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Not too long back, a good friend of mine {hi, Suzanne!} and I were chatting about summer time and some of the fun things that I should be whipping up. When she mentioned “sangria” I was instantly sold. A self-proclaimed wine lover, I have been known in years past to whip up a mighty fine sangria. And since it’s been awhile since I’ve shared one with y’all {this one, so far back?! gee whiz!}, I determined that I was well overdue for a new recipe. After time spent pouring over ingredients ::and perhaps a few poured glasses of wine, cough cough:: the hubs and I came up with a winner!

I am particularly excited about this one because not only are we using tons of fresh, in-season fruit, but we’re marrying two things the hubs and I love the most – WINE & BOURBON! Woohoo! In all honesty, I had no idea that the two spirits would pair so nicely together, but let me tell you…they are indeed kindred spirits. Dry rose wine and spicy, warm bourbon dance so nicely on your palette; it is indeed a thing of beauty. And when you get to the bottom of your glass, those wonderful bits of fruit have leeched all the glorious tastes from said spirits. You’ll find yourself reaching for another  glass…and perhaps another…

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Let’s not waste any more time, shall we?

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Bulleit Bourbon & Rose Sangria 

A playful twist on sangria, this pitcher is sure to pack a punch to your taste buds! A perfect summer drink, ideal for long evening spent sitting around the fire pit, chatting and catching up with friends. And by all means, feel free to swap out fruits for whatever you might have on hand/like better/what you have in your garden!

Ingredients:

1 bottle rose wine {we opted for a drier version}

1 pint of strawberries, washed and hulled

1 orange, sliced thin

2 Anjou pears, cut into wedges

1/2 cup bourbon {we used Bulleit, but feel free to use your preference!}

1/4 cup Triple Sec liqueur

additional fruit wedges for garnish, if desired

optional “toppers” for the drink: non-alcoholic {or alcoholic!} ginger beer, lemon-lime soda, tonic water, plain club soda, flavored club soda, sparkling water. **keep in mind that these are used to provide an effervescence, but can also be used to help dilute the drink to your liking..and potency : ) 

To Prepare:

Combine the rose wine, bourbon, triple sec, and sliced fruits into a large pitched with a tightly fitted lid. Stir to combine; you want the fruits to distribute and the different alcohols to merry together.

Chill for at least 4 to 8 hours, or overnight.

Serve over ice with additional fruits for garnishes, and fill as desired with liquid “toppers”.

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Cheers!

thirsty thursday: cucumber martini

I almost forgot to write this post because I was preoccupied…enjoying this cocktail!

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…just kidding. kinda.

I know that the hubs and I have been slightly MIA with our “thirsty thursday” posts – blame that on a lot of activites/trips/visits over the past few months! {read: here, here, & here…whew!}

But fear not! We’ll be back in full force over the summer months; the time and weather is idyllic for evenings spent on the porch with a fun and festive cocktail. Watching the sun set and the cool breeze is one of the things I look forward to most about the summer months, and I thought today’s cocktail would be the perfect one to kick off the season.

Gin is the perfect summer liquor, in my opinion, because of the herbal notes and crisp flavor. I’ll take it one step further and say that it is my liquor of choice, just because I love that flavor so gosh darn much. It pairs so beautifully with an assortment of flavors; so when the hubs came up with this cocktail for me, on a total whim, not long ago, I knew I had found my new go-to for the summer. And perhaps, after your first sip, you just may have, too!

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Cucumber Martini {serves 1, can easily be mulitplied}

A fun and refreshing twist on one of the most classic drinks, this cucumber martini tastes like it is infused with all the goodness of summer – fresh cucumbers, herbal notes from gin, and just a dash of St. Germain rounds it out with bright, fruity notes. One sip and you’ll see why we will be sipping on this all summer long!

Ingredients:

2-1/2 ounces gin {we like Hendricks}

1 ounce St. Germain

5 slices of cucumber, plus one or two extra for garnish

5 ice cubes

To Prepare:

Muddle 5 cucumber slices in a cocktail shaker, making sure to really break them apart to release their juices.

Add in the gin, St. Germain, and ice cubes.

Shake vigorously for at least 30 seconds or, until as the hubs says, “you’re hand is freezing”.

Strain into a chilled martini glass, and garnish with additional cucumber slice{s} floating on top.

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Cheers!

thirsty thursday: come on, spring!

…the snow is melting! 

…daylight savings time, in all its glory, has made its return.

…multiple days with comfortable temperatures are more & more common.

Y’all, spring is so close! I woke up this morning, threw on my workout gear and headed out the door. While it’s now much darker outside {I mean, I leave at 5:15am…call me crazy, I know} but I swear that it just smelled ::fresh:: outside. Maybe it’s just my senses being hypersensitive and sick of winter, but I can feel it – the dawn of spring is upon us!

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I turned that thought over and over in my head all day, smiling each time I thought about the crisp air, fresh flowers, and green grass. Almost gone are the days of comforting dishes and drinks; let’s clear our bar {& table} to make way for the sweet and savory offerings that this glorious season has to offer! The hubs and I have been compiling a list of fun cocktails and spirits to test run in the next weeks; I wanted to share the list today, in honor of ‘thirsty thursday’ so that you might find inspiration as well! Please share in the comments if you try, or have tried, any of these concoctions – I’d love to hear what you think.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

thirsty thursday: the southside

There’s an old saying, somewhere along the lines of “gin makes you sin.”

But I think that it needs to be adjusted, ever so slightly, towards the thought of not liking gin makes you a sinner. But maybe not really…?

I digress. The moral of today’s story is that this is THE DRINK that will make you a gin lover, if you aren’t already. I know I’ve been professing my love and appreciation of {good} bourbon as of late – see here, and here – but gin is my favorite. It’s such a diverse liquor, with flavors and aromas as varied as the many cocktails they’ve inspired.

For today’s drink, we’re keeping it simple; clean, fresh, and bright. Hints of fresh mint, lime juice and just a note of sweetness from the simple syrup let the herbal notes of the gin really shine. Because isn’t that what everyone craves when you’ve got about 8″ of snow on the ground, or is that just me?

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The Southside {serves 1}

Inspired from local favorite, this drink is insanely easy to prepare – and delivers impressive results. 

Ingredients:

2 ounces gin

1 ounce simple syrup

juice of half a lime

fresh mint leaves, julienned

fresh mint sprigs, for garnish

optional: 2-3 ounces club soda, for finishing

To Prepare:

Fill a cocktail shaker with the gin, simple syrup, julienned mint leaves and lime juice. Top with ice, and shake vigorously for 30 seconds or until the exterior becomes frosty.

Strain into a sidecar-style glass and garnish with mint sprigs. Top with club soda, if so desired.

thirsty thursday: tequila mojitos

By now, you all know how much I enjoy a good cocktail. Specifically, one laced with bourbon and kept super simple. But…did you know that I also enjoy tequila?

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This is a far cry for me, as I have only recently begun to enjoy it in forms other than margaritas {and dollar shots at happy hour, but that’s an entirely different story}. A few nights ago, the hubs and I were combing through cocktail books and recipes, trying to decide upon what to make for the week’s upcoming date night. We have enjoyed so many fantastic winter drinks and great red wines over the past few months that our palettes longed for something bright and refreshing. Normally, I would have suggested something with a gin- or vodka-base, but he threw out the idea of “tequila?” and we knew we had to explore the possibility.

I had my doubts, I’ll be honest. But the hubs is such a wonderful curator of craft drinks, I knew that my doubts were for naught. And sure enough, he whipped up the cocktail I’m sharing today. Simple, fresh ingredients with a splash of spicy ginger syrup. YUM. And I’ll tell you – it came at the perfect time! We sipped on this drink; crisp, bright, and oh-so-refreshing, that the entire weekend that followed seemed to have known how we longed for sunshine and warm weather. A beautiful cocktail and a beautiful weekend go hand in hand; I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

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Tequila Mojitos {serves 1}

A refreshing break from the heavier cocktails that winter seems to cry for, this drink is sure to transport you to the warmest and sunniest of beaches. 

Ingredients:

1-1/2 ounces white tequila

3/4 ounces ginger infused simple syrup {see my recipe here}

cubed ice

club soda, for topping

fresh mint, for both the cocktail and as a garnish

lime wedges, for garnish

To Prepare:

Muddle the mint in the bottom of a rocks glass. Add ice cubes to glass and set aside.

In a shaker combine: ice, tequila, and ginger infused simple syrup. Shake vigorously until frosty, about 30-45 seconds. Strain over the ice into the rocks glass. Top with club soda. Garnish with mint leaves and a lime wedge.

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Cheers!

thirsty thursday: cider-ginger mules

Spiked cider has just gotten better.

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There’s something magical about this time of the year – the air is crisp, the sky is clear, and all the wonderful autumn flavors just seem to work their way into all sorts of concoctions. I am not complaining, because the day that I stumbled upon this creative cocktail I knew that I was in for a treat. And y’all, we’re talking PERFECTION. This drink, holy wow. I cannot get enough.

I have always had a soft spot for ginger beer. Perhaps it’s because one of my favorite local spots makes theirs in-house, resulting in the best ‘Dark & Stormy’ I’ve had to date, but I just adore the flavor. When made properly, it’s perfectly spicy and sweet.

But now, there is this drink. THIS DRINK! Not only does it utilize my favorite ginger beer, but we’re also incorporating hard cider. Again, another one of my favorites! And when you top it with the freshly sliced, in-season apples, it is seriously like drinking up autumn. It brings up that warm, fuzzy feeling…and no, it’s not from the vodka. wink wink.

One sip and you’ll be in autumnal bliss. I promise.

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Cider-Ginger Mules {recipe adapted from Averie Cooks}

Ingredients:

6 ounces ginger beer

3 ounces hard cider

3 ounces vodka

optional garnishes: apple wedges, cinnamon sticks

To Prepare:

Fill a cider mug with ice to chill it down, for about 2 to 3 minutes. Discard all but one or two of the ice cubes.

Layer ingredients over the remaining ice cubes and stir ingredients to combine. Float an apple garnish on the top, as well as on the rim of the glass. A cinnamon stick can be added to use as a stirrer. Enjoy!

thirsty thursday: boozy hot cocoa

Perfect for cozying up in front of the fire, and bundled underneath your thickest blanket. I look forward to the cold every year, because it gives me an excuse to drink hot cocoa! Sure, you could {and I’m sure many do} enjoy this treat year round, but I love the anticipation of waiting until the thermometer dips below freezing; it’s the wait that makes it so special!

Over the years, I’ve come to be quite a hot cocoa aficionado. Rotating through the classics such as Ovaltine, Swiss Miss, and even good old Hershey’s syrup heated in milk…everyone has their favorites, and like anything, they constantly change and evolve. Mine certainly has!

Here is my current obsession. I’ve been on a bit of a coconut milk kick lately…I’ve always enjoyed its flavor, but am now incorporating it into more and more things. Warmed up over cereal has been a recent discovery, it makes a wonderful addition to a smoothie, but hands-down, it’s best in this recipe I’m sharing today! You can feel free to dress it up or down as you like; modify the ingredients to your tasting, but I promise, one sip and you’ll be hooked. And just like me…waiting for winter to show up!

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Boozy Hot Cocoa

Perfect for those chilly nights, my hot cocoa will be sure to warm you right up! Play around with the ingredients listed – booze or no booze, whatever milk base you prefer, add in extra sugar. It’s up to you! 

Ingredients:

1 cup milk of choice, plus 2-3 extra tablespoons

1 heaping tablespoon of sugar

2 heaping tablespoons of cocoa powder

pinch salt

dash vanilla extract

optional boozy add-ins: {2 ounces whipped vodka} or {2 ounces bailey’s} or (2 ounces peppermint shnapps}

To Prepare:

In a large, heat-proof mug combine the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. Whisk to combine.

Slowly drizzle in the 2-3 extra tablespoons of milk, until a thick paste has formed and any clumps have been worked out. Add in the vanilla and set aside.

Heat up the remaining 1 cup of milk until hot but not boiling {I usually go for 2 to 2.5 minutes}. Once desired temperature is reached, add it slowly into the mug. Whisk to combine and all lumps have been dissolved.

If doing so, add in your boozy mix-in! Top with whipped cream and chocolate shavings, and be sure to enjoy in front of a warm fire. Cheers!

thirsty thursday: dirty martinis

Perfection, pure and simple.

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A martini is the quintessential host drink. So easy to prepare, minimalist as far as ingredients are considered, and a snap to assemble, it really doesn’t get better than this. Sure, you can dress it up with different flavored liquors, garnish it to death but…why mess with something so pure?

I’ll be the first gal to admit that it took me quite some time before I was able to appreciate this cocktail. Especially considering this is a VODKA-based martini {insert gasp here}. I am a gin lover, through and through – it’s my liquor of choice when it comes to drink but, for any martini, it’s the vodka that I desire. The clean backdrop of flavor that the vodka provides really lets the drink shine. You can drink it straight up or, if you’re like the hubs and myself, you prefer to stir the pot with some flavor, albeit oh-so-slightly.

It’s nothing mind-blowing or a brand new discovery by any means, but in my eyes, the perfect way to drink a martini is shaken vigorously with a bit of vermouth, olive brine, and garnished with a few blue cheese stuffed olives. Here’s the recipe that the hubs makes when our fancy for a martini strikes; I guarantee you’ll be a convert after your first sip. Enjoy!

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Dirty Martinis

No explanation needed. A classic drink that can’t be made any better, the flavor balance of the vodka and brine is what elevates this simple combination from ordinary to extraordinary. 

Ingredients:

2 ounces vodka, whatever your personal preference

1 ounce dry vermouth

olive brine, to taste {I love using Dirty Sue; it can be found on Amazon!}

optional {I think necessary!} garnish: blue cheese stuffed olives 

To Prepare:

Fill a martini glass with ice so that it will be nicely chilled. Set aside.

In a cocktail shaker, combine the vodka and dry vermouth. Add in the olive brine, to your personal taste. Top off with ice and shake vigorously until chilled, at least 30 seconds.

Pour the ice out of the martini glass, and strain the martini into it. Garnish with desired amount of blue cheese stuffed olives that have been skewered onto a toothpick.

thirsty thursday: the fallen apple

Gone are my cravings for cocktails on the lighter side. While I still love a good mojito if the sunshine is out {because how can you go wrong with that drink?}, autumn cocktails need to be warm, comforting, and full-bodied.

We’ve had a bottle of apple wine {a favorite of mine from a local winery} waiting to be crafted into something fun and new. I adore this wine on its own, but have been itching to transform it into something different! So I spent the better part of an afternoon thinking and dreaming researching how we could best do that.

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And then I saw the drink I’m sharing with you all today. I’ve taken a bit of a liberty and tweaked it from its original form, but the end result is nothing short of spectacular. The maple bourbon we’re using hits the perfect note of warmth and sweet; the mulled simple syrup adds a bit of spice and flair thanks to the honey, and the apple wine itself creates the perfect canvas for these flavors to meld as one.

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The Fallen Apple {recipe adapted from What Sarah Knows}

With my newly found and developed love of good bourbon, this cocktail was a no-brainer to make on a chilly Friday evening. Perfectly balanced with the warm notes from the simple syrup, the sweet bourbon, and the crisp apple slices, this cocktail will make you feel comfortable and cozy. 

For the Mulled Simple Syrup:

1 cup water

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup honey {use local if you can}

1 tsp. mulling spices

To make the syrup, bring all ingredients to a  boil on the stove top, making sure to stir constantly. The sugar may burn if you don’t! Once all ingredients are dissolved, remove  from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Store in the refrigerator, tightly covered, when not in use. 

Ingredients:

2 ounces Crown Royal Maple Bourbon, or whatever you like

2 ounces apple wine {apple cider would be a great substitute}

1 Tbsp. mulled simple syrup

thinly sliced apple, for garnish

To Prepare:

As directed above, prepare the mulled simple syrup and set aside to cool.

In a shaker add ice, bourbon, apple wine, and mulled simple syrup. Shake and pour into a glass. Top with sliced apple.

Cheers!

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Let’s Discuss: are you a fan of mulled wine? What do you like/not like about it?