Watermelon Juice Cocktail with Lemon Balm Leaves

What’s the fourth of July without the flag? Or fireworks or a juicy watermelon to dig into? Save some of that juice for a refreshing cocktail that’s not that sweet and tastes just like summer. Enjoy! Everyone have a great fourth and weekend!

  • a little under 4 oz. cucumber vodka
  • 8 oz. fresh watermelon juice
  • fresh lemon balm leaves

Combine the juice and vodka and divide evenly among two glasses and rip up a leaf into each glass. Serves 2.

Hot Honey & Vanilla Coconut Milk

You wouldn’t believe that summer begins next week, as here on the east coast, it’s chilly and rainy as ever. When I attempted to take Daisy out for her walk this morning, she refused. She takes some steps backwards and then shakes her head, “No”. It doesn’t happen every time but when it does, I can’t help but laugh out loud and attempt to coax her down the stairs by assuring her I will keep her covered with the umbrella. (Sometimes, she still refuses.) She really is Miss Daisy, as most of the time she gets her way and we go back inside until the rain lets up, lol. With this day and evening as raw and clammy as it is, I needed something warm to drink, with a promise of summer and when I think of summer, I think of tropical coconuts! This is a creamy, sweet and a little peppery drink that’s just perfect for a beating-rain-against-the-window type of night, such as tonight. Enjoy!

  • 12 oz. coconut milk, (the drinkable, milk substitute type)
  • 1 heaping tablespoon coconut milk (the condiment type, in a can)
  • 1 heaping teaspoon honey or more to taste
  • 1/3 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • fresh ground black pepper

In a pot, combine all of the ingredients and heat on medium heat, until steaming hot. Adjust the sweetness as needed. Garnish with extra pepper, if you like. Serves 1. Double the recipe as needed.

Rhubarb & Cherry Cocktail

Sometimes, there is nothing sweeter than the first few drops of a spring rain. I was lucky enough to be outside while peeling the rhubarb, as the cool drops started falling and for a microsecond, I closed my eyes and really enjoyed it before the heavy drops started falling and fall all day, they did. This tart, yet slightly sweet drink is refreshing on a hot and humid, rainy day where the windows are opened up a bit and you feel that rainy breeze coming in, while enjoying a good read. Enjoy!

  • 4 cups chopped rhubarb, (about 1&1/2 pounds)
  • 2 cups frozen pitted cherries
  • 64 oz. water
  • sea salt
  • xylitol
  • rose water

Begin by peeling the rhubarb. I start off by giving the rhubarb a good wash and then cutting the stalks into manageable size pieces and then I peel the thinnest outer layer. I find using a vegetable peeler takes too much of the rhubarb and a small paring knife works best, just be careful. If you are unsure, bite into the rhubarb and it should have none of those fibers and be easy to eat, just pucker-your-lips-sour!

Next, combine the rhubarb, cherries. water and a pinch of sea salt and bring to a boil. Once it’s at a rolling boil, lower the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes. Next, with an immersion blender, blend your mixture until smooth and add in your sweetener of choice, if needed. I’m obsessed with xylitol now, so I added in 2 tablespoons. Stir until dissolved. Allow to cool and then add in your rose water. Add in the rose water, little by little, start with a teaspoon and then add more to taste. With rose water, my experience is a little goes a long way. This is super easy to make a party cocktail, just add in tequila, a fruity flavored vodka or sweet wine and serve with lots of ice and lemon and lime wedges. Makes 8 cups.

Cucumber & Sorrel Cocktail

It’s the unofficial start of summer and I have been looking forward to this Friday for a long time now and it’s finally here! But it’s raining and not feeling much like summer on the east coast, as I have my comfy sweater on to keep warm, the windows are closed shut and I’m contemplating making some steaming hot chicken and leek soup. And if the outdoor temperature gauge is working right, it’s about 45 degrees outside. It figures with our long winter and springs’ delay that the unofficial start of summer is delayed too but that doesn’t mean that we can’t celebrate with a summer feeling cocktail…inside with our sweaters on and maybe a nice blanket to keep warm. ;) Have a great, memorable weekend and a thoughtful Memorial Day. Enjoy!

  • 2 Kirby cucumbers
  • 2 large sorrel leaves
  • 4oz. cucumber vodka
  • 1 teaspoon xylitol
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon or more
  • 12 oz.can lemon or lime flavored seltzer

Remove the inner vein of the sorrel leaf and discard. Roughly the sorrel leaf along with the cucumber and toss into a blender with the vodka until well blended. Add the xylitol and the lemon juice until well combined. Divide among 2 glasses and do the same with the seltzer and give them a gentle stir. Adjust the taste as needed. Serves 2.

Citrus Gingerade

Gingerade kombucha always cools me down on a hot day and I combined it with some of the sad citrus that was sitting in the fruit bowl and I’m so glad I did because this drink came out so tasty! Serve with ice and enjoy!

  • 6 oz. gingerade kombucha
  • 1 ruby red grapefruit
  • 2 navel oranges
  • squeeze of lime

Juice the grapefruit, oranges and combine with the kombucha. Give it a squeeze of lime juice and garnish with a slice of lime. Serves 1.

Hibiscus, Ginger & Grapefruit Cocktail

My cousin sent me a package for my birthday and did it make my heart sing. Everything in the box was a special food item and it was lovingly wrapped, so it wouldn’t break. I unwrapped everything with such excitement and put it right back in the box, nestling everything back into its’ square cardboard basket. I just wanted to enjoy it as it was and extend the happiness it brought to me. One of my favorite parts of Christmas was all of the wrapping paper and packaging strewn around and for some reason this is what it felt like, this treasure of mine, still in the box. And a treasure it was, Meyer lemons in olive oil, pork and poultry rub from the Golden Gate Meat Company, dark chocolate with Hungarian salami and smoked bacon (OMG), special pepperoni and olive oils and this package of hibiscus tea…I was in heaven. Have you ever seen a tea as beautiful as this one? I finally opened up the tea today and it was so delicious and makes one tasty cocktail! Enjoy!

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1 or 2 hibiscus tea bags
  • 1 teaspoon xylitol
  • 2 ruby red grapefruits, juiced
  • 2 shots of vodka
  • 2 strawberries for garnish

Use as much or as little ginger as you like. The piece I used was about half an inch thick and about two by an inch in size. Peel the outer skin of the ginger and place in the cold water and bring to a boil. Steep the hibiscus tea with the boiled ginger water. Let it cool, stir in the grapefruit, vodka and the xylitol. You can use any sweetener that you like but if using sugar or honey, dissolve while the tea is hot and then allow to cool. Divide among two glasses and garnish with the strawberries. Serves 2.

Chamomile & Lavender Tonic

It’s National Stress Awareness Month and I’m sure we are more aware of it than we would like. We all know how bad stress if for our body and if we take small steps to keep it at bay everyday, it can help in the long run. Deep breathing for a few minutes, a nice hot shower or a nice cup of  tea is always calming and soothing. We all know the calming effects of chamomile and lavender. A steamy cup of chamomile tea at night is just what I need to relax and to melt some of those stressors away.  And I just love a few satchels of lavender tucked into my pillow cases to help me fall asleep. Why not combine the relaxing duo into a tonic? Enjoy by candlelight and melt that stress away…

 
  • 4oz. chamomile tea, cooled
  • 4oz. lavender kombucha ( I used GT’s Kombucha Lavender No. 3)
 

Combine in a glass and give it a little stir. (If you like, you can add in a shot of vodka if you are in the mood for a cocktail.) Serves 1, double the recipe as needed.

 
 

Pineapple & Allspice Berry Cockail

Late afternoon yesterday, evening and late night were snowy. Spring is a only few hours away but winter is still holding on, strong. I was keeping an eye on the weather reports and knew we would be a little snow bound. I had a loose plan in place to make this drink, so I steeped the vodka with allspice berries Sunday night, just to enjoy it in time to watch the last snow fall. Didn’t I think the last storm was the last snowfall? I did, but I realize now, it’s not about it being the last or first snowfall, just that it was absolutely beautiful. Enjoy!

  • 4 oz. vanilla or plain vodka, divided
  • about 20 allspice berries, crushed
  • 8 oz. fresh pineapple juice, divided (about a quarter  of a whole pineapple)
  • 8 oz. lemon lime seltzer, divided

Combine the allspice berries and the vodka in a glass and let it sit about 24 hours. Cover with plastic wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator. Strain the vodka and combine with the pineapple juice and lastly, top off with the seltzer, give it a light stir. If the pineapple isn’t sweet enough, you can always add a little simple syrup to the juice. This recipe serves 2.

This drink is so nice and smooth, it would be great in a punch bowl! Just double or triple the recipe as needed. If making this for a party, making drink markers out of the berries is a fun idea. To make a drink marker out of the allspice berries, use a thick needle, like a crochet needle and thread through the center of each allspice berry, making a hole, like a necklace bead. Using a set of pliers to hold the berry or needle, helps, along with a thimble for your finger. Next, using any color crochet thread you like, thread a few allspice berries onto the thread. Tie a simple knot around your glass and trim the excess thread. You can thread as many or as little as you like, to differentiate the markers (for example, 1 through x amount of berries, depending on how many guest you have.) Or, even better, you can use a silver fine point marker and personalize them.

Chai-ed Milk with Black Spice Rum

When I was little, I found a recipe for a sweet hot milk in a childrens’ cookbook and couldn’t wait to try it. My mom was never enthusiastic about me using the stove and I had to ask her when she was in good spirits, lol. And it was around Christmas time, that I first made the recipe with milk, sugar and vanilla. Did I love it, especially because it was sweet and spiced with vanilla. It was almost like a hot melted scoop of vanilla ice cream. Mmmm…as much as I like ice cream soup, it doesn’t seem too appealing now, lol but a chai spiced almond milk spiked with black spice rum sounds much better. ;) Enjoy!

  • 16 oz. vanilla flavored almond milk
  • 3 oz. black spiced rum
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 1/8-1/4 teaspoon honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • pinch ground cinnamon
  • fresh nutmeg
This is a great cocktail that works with any kind of milk, regular, soy, almond or rice. You can use plain or vanilla flavored. (If using regular milk, you might want to add more honey or even sugar and adjust as needed. Just add the sugar in as the milk is warming up.) On low heat, bring the almond milk to an almost boil. Add in your tea bags, cover and let steep for 10 minutes. With a spoon, squeeze your tea bags to get all of the flavor out. Whisk in your honey. Add in the black spiced rum, vanilla, cinnamon and freshly grated nutmeg. If you want your chai super hot, you can do this on the stove or you can cool it down with an ice cube and sip with a straw. Serves 2.

Witches’ Brew

When I see that sign at Dairy Queen, that says “Just 4 days left,” a mild panic sets in. It’s a combination of it being, a sure sign that winter is eventually going to be here. (Winter is my least favorite season. If I could live in a beach shack somewhere for a few months, I would.) And, where am I suppose to get pumpkin ice cream if they are closed? That’s the real concern, lol. But I have a few days left before the CLOSED sign at Dairy Queen, stays that way. (Until late February 2013, the 22nd to be exact, but who’s counting and who circled it on her mental calendar, not me, lol) So it’s time to enjoy the pumpkin ice cream while we can! If you aren’t a fan of pumpkin, you can use vanilla or chocolate ice cream, dulce de leche would be nice also. And you can use cream soda instead of cola also. This is such a fun drink and looks like a little bit of a witches’ brew! To delight your inner witch, wrap a piece of “creepy cloth” around your glass and cackle away, my pretty!

  • 2 scoops pumpkin ice cream
  • 4 oz. chocolate liqueur, like Godiva
  • 8 oz. cola
  • milk chocolate for garnish *optional

Fill your glass with a scoop of ice cream. Top with the liqueur and the cola, skimming the foam to add more if necessary. Grate the chocolate on top. Serves 2. Enjoy!