In Category: ‘Cocktail Hour’

There are some drinks that are good all the time… no matter the season or occasion.   This is one of them.  I found it over on Real Simple a few years ago, and made it for our annual Christmas Eve Brunch.  I’ve made it for almost every get-together since then.  It works as equally wonderful for Christmas as it does for summertime in the backyard.  It’s just so good.   So so so good.

Backyard Cocktails 0004 Backyard Cocktails: Bourbon Sweet Tea
Backyard Cocktails 0005 Backyard Cocktails: Bourbon Sweet Tea


Bourbon Sweet Tea (from Real Simple)

2 tea bags (black or herbal)

2 tablespoons honey

4 plums or peaches (or whatever looks delicious and in season!)

8 springs fresh thyme

1/2 cup bourbon

In a large saucepan, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Remove from heat, add the tea bags, and let steep for 10 minutes. Discard the bags and allow the tea to cool to room temperature.

Stir in the honey, plums, thyme and bourbon. Transfer to a mason jar and refrigerate until cool, about 1 1/2 hours.  Serve over ice.  Enjoy!

Oh, also I made this, this & this for noshing.  All healthy AND delicious!

I absolutely love entertaining. I love laughing with my friends, and eating good friend and sipping on a delicious cocktail.  But, I hate spending time in the kitchen while everyone else is relaxing. I hate spending too much time mixing cocktails when I would rather be sipping one. So, when some of my lady friends came over for an afternoon in the backyard I had an excellent idea.  Premixed cocktails in mason jars!
Seriously, why have I never done this before!?  I made five drinks at a time and stored them in the fridge in mason jars.  When it came time for a new round of drinks, everything was ready to go.  I just had to pour and add the finishing touches instead of removing myself from the conversation and spending 15 minutes in the kitchen while I missed all the good laughs.  It was perfection.   The only problem… it made it so easy to go through the drinks that we perhaps may have had a few more than necessary icon smile Backyard Cocktails: Refreshing Rose Sparkler

Backyard Cocktails 0001 Backyard Cocktails: Refreshing Rose Sparkler
Backyard Cocktails 0002 Backyard Cocktails: Refreshing Rose Sparkler
Backyard Cocktails 0003 Backyard Cocktails: Refreshing Rose Sparkler

This was my favorite of the options I’d made for this afternoon.  And I imagine it will be a go-to cocktail for the summer… it’s just perfect!  The Rose syrup is REAL sweet, but the flavor is just delicious… the bitters temper it pretty well.

Refreshing Rose Sparkler

(Makes 5 cocktails)

10 oz Gin (I like Hendricks for it’s rose & cucumber essence)

the juice of 4 limes

4 oz Monin’s Rose Syrup

5 springs mint (leaves removed and stalks discarded)

Bitters (5-8 splashes)

Diet Sprite

In a mason jar, combine the gin, lime juice, syrup, mint leaves & bitters.  Shake to combine and then store in the fridge until ready to serve.

Pour over ice into five glasses, then top with Diet Sprite to taste.   Enjoy!


As I’m aging, I realize that I sometimes need the caffeine jolt to get myself going.  I’ve never needed it before, but now there are days I just can’t get out of my own way.  The coffee helps :-)  And if I need to help myself get through the “ahh, it would be kind of nice to curl up on the couch” mood so that I can actually get myself out of the house and speak to other humans for an evening, this little concoction helps!   Perfect to give me a teeny jolt and remind myself that getting out of my gym clothes can encourage a world of good!

This particular one does need a little bit of forward thinking with the coffee ice cubes and cold coffee.  But, if you’re short on time, the cubes are a lovely touch, but not entirely necessary either!  And if your coffee is hot, make it super strong, then add ice.  The ice will melt and mellow the strength while chilling the temperature.
Coffee Cocktails 0001 Caffeinated Cocktails

Caffeinated Cocktails (Makes 1 Cocktail)

2 oz vodka

2 oz cold coffee

1 oz Baileys

1 oz Chambord

4 iced coffee cubes

Add ingredients to a shaker.  Shake. Pour into a glass, add coffee ice cubes. Enjoy!


Something about watermelon makes me know that it’s summertime.  And with the temperatures heading into the eighties next week, I’m guessing that we’re all up in it already.  What!?  Already!?  How does that happen every year?

So, something simple.  Something refreshing.  Something light, but not so light that it’s tasteless.  Here you are folks.  And with a sweet macaroon, it’s the perfect summer snack.  Enjoy!
Watermelon Cocktails 0001 Fresh Watermelon Cocktails
Watermelon Cocktails 0002 Fresh Watermelon Cocktails

Fresh Watermelon Summer

2 oz Vodka

2 oz fresh watermelon juice

1 oz Monin Raspberry syurp

1/2 lime

Add all vodka, juice & syurp to a shaker with ice.  Squeeze in the juice from 1/2 a lime.  Shake and strain into a glass.  Garnish with a lime slice.  Enjoy!

It feels like summer time y’all.  At least here in SoCal where temps are reaching the mid-70′s on a regular basis and the famers markets are full of juicy fruits!  Our fridge is absolutely overflowing with strawberries at the moment and I needed to do something with them that wasn’t stuffing a pie and then eating the whole delicious mess on my own.  So, to the juicer they went and with the addition of gin and elderflower, they will be consumed pretty quickly I’d guess.

This pretty cocktail is just begging to stretch out on lawn chair and enjoy the last bits of sunshine this evening.  Happy summertime!
Strawberry 0001 Summer Strawberry Cocktail

Summertime Strawberry Cocktail

2 oz Gin

2.5 oz Strawberry Juice

1 oz St. Germaine

1 sprig mint

Remove mint leaves from stalk and clap between your hands to release the mint oils.  Drop into a shaker filled with ice.  Add gin, strawberry juice and St. Germaine.  Shake and strain into a coupe.  Garnish with a mint leaf.

It’s Valentines Day!  Which, for me, usually means a few extra kisses and a delicious cocktail (or two!)  This year I’ll be sipping on one of these, inspired by the most delicious treat Chris surprised me with on my long run today, Trader Joes’ Powerberries. These little nuggets of deliciousness are addictive. And amazing. And such a perfect treat!

This cocktail is so super delicious, a wonderful balance of sweet & sour with a hint of chocolate.  A perfect Valentine’s Day treat.  Enjoy!

Valentines 0002 Chocolate Covered Raspberry Cocktails

Chocolate Covered Raspberry Cocktails

2 part Gin

1 part Meyer Lemon Juice

1 part Le Sirop de Monin Raspberry

Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters


Directions:  Mix gin, lemon juice & raspberry syrup in a shaker with ice.  Strain into glass, add bitters to taste.

January 9, 2013 Minty Moscow Mules


I’m not a huge fan of ginger.  Actual ginger, gingerbread, ginger beer… all the gingers just turn me off completely.  But, my husband loves it!   Wants to smother it on sushi, shave it onto food and juice it into cocktails.  Ick.   But I try to be a nice wife and will make him one on occasion.  Plus, Ginger Beer comes in  beautiful little packaging and you get to serve them in fabulous little copper mugs.   So, I’m in.

A traditional Moscow Mule is super simple… vodka, ginger beer, lime.   But, I thought a little mint might give it a pretty kick!

moscow mule 0001 Minty Moscow Mules


Minty Moscow Mule

2 oz Vodka

1 oz Mint Simple Syrup

2 lime wedges

Ginger Beer

1 Sprig of Mint

Pour vodka & mint simple syrup over ice and squeeze one lime.  Top with ginger beer.  Garnish with lime wedge and mint sprig.


Happy Halloween y’all!   For me, this finally feels like the beginning of fall.  Except that we’re still seeing 90 degree weather.  Blargh!  I’ve broken out the sweaters and boots though, because I’ve missed them.  I’m craving soups instead of salads.  And I’m moving away from the fruity cocktails of summer into the more savory concoctions for fall.  And Campari is definitely one of those flavors that has me thinking about sweater weather.  So bitter, with just a hint of summer sweetness, perfect for this transition into winter.

And because it’s Halloween, I doctored it up a teeny bit.  You know, to be scary and whanot.  EYEBALLS!

Halloween 034 Cocktail Hour: Campari Carnage

Campari Carnage

2 oz Vodka

2 oz Campari

2 oz Orange Juice

1 oz Simple Syrup

Red food coloring

Mix together Vodka, Campari, Orange Juice and Simple Syrup with ice in a shaker.  Shake and strain into glass with one large ice cube.  Add a few drops of red food coloring and stir.

September 17, 2012 Cocktail Hour: Sgroppino


Although it doesn’t quite feel like it in Los Angeles yet, it seems that summer is coming to a close.  The nights are longer, there’s the tiniest hint of a chill in the air, and the roads are packed with little ones heading to and from school.  So, as a last ode to a wonderful summer, Jess made a sgroppino for me.  Mario Batali touts it as the perfect way to “untie the knot” from a deliciously filling dinner.  And I couldn’t agree more!   It’s the perfect concoction to sip on the back porch at the end of a long day.  Enjoy!

End of Summer 1 Cocktail Hour: Sgroppino




1 cup vodka

1 pint lemon gelato

1/2 bottle of prosecco

1 cup ice cups


Pour all ingredients into a blender and blend until frothy and smooth.  Pour into chilled champagne flutes or coupes.

I hate ordering a caipirinha at a bar because, well, I never remember quite how to say it.  It always falls out of my mouth, a pile of i’s.  Something about it always gets me tied up.  But it’s usually worth it.  Because it’s incredibly delicious!

Caipirinha’s are Brazilian, and just the thing to perk Dr. Marina Singh up after a long day in the Amazon.  Ha!  They’re made with cachaça, lime & sugar.  Something so simple that tastes so incredibly complex.  It’s light & refreshing, a perfect way to round out a hot summer day!

caiprinhia 001 Cocktail Hour: Caipirinha

… Caipirinha

2 oz cachaça

Juice of 1 lime

four lime wedges

2 tablespoons simple syrup

Squeeze the lime wedges into a glass with ice.  Add cachaça, lime juice & simple syrup.  Stir to combine.  Enjoy!

note – you can use sugar instead of simple syrup, but it never dissolves quite as nicely!