summer sips guest post: blueberry french 75

well, it's time again for another summer sips!  don't worry - this one has booze [i about got death threats last week].  and this week you are in for another treat, because it's another guest post.  i got so many great compliments after the last one, i just couldn't not invite one of my new blogger friends to join in on the fun after i saw her instagram of a fancy homemade cocktail. 

today's recipe is from erica of whiskey kittens.  erica is one of those online friends - we tweet and i'm a big fan of her blog, and i can't wait to meet her in person because i just know we have so much in common.  both writers and editors, both recently transplanted to boston, lovers of gin, wine and burgers - i could go on.  but instead, i will let you become smitten with her like i am.  especially after she combines two of my favorite boozes - gin and champagne.

i started whiskey kittens in 2010 as a way to keep track of everything that was going on in my life. i was planning a wedding, trying to buy a house, and enjoying exploring charleston, south carolina, where i lived at the time. i considered it more of a visual diary than anything else, and i hoped that other people might find it interesting.

this summer, i’m obsessed with vinho verde. it’s a super light, refreshing, semi-sparkling [and generally cheap!] portugese wine that goes down way too easily. it’s almost like drinking sprite. but it makes you feel a lot better.

despite my love of vinho verde, i’m generally strictly a liquor girl. i tend to reach for bourbon in the winter and gin in the summer, but i don’t always stick to those rules. i’m a sucker for fancy cocktails with a bit of history, and i love trying new recipes at home. 

i got some good training while living in charleston, where the summers are so hot and humid, you basically swim through the air from may through october. it’s all about airy sundresses, topknots, giant sunglasses (to hide the melting makeup), and frequent AC breaks paired with very cold drinks. you also have to turn a bit nocturnal. which can be fun.

1. al fresco dining. if there’s a patio, i’m eating on it. if there’s a rooftop, even better.
2. the beach. or really any large body of water that i can jump into when i get too hot.
3. road trips.
4. the food! a perfect meal is grilled red meat plus whatever looks delicious at the farmers market, like heirloom to
5. lately, homemade popsicles. my husband just made some coconut popsicles that were so good we ate six in a day.

i’m pretty sure the french 75 is the perfect summer drink. it’s got the refreshing zip of lemon juice balanced by a touch of sugar, and the potent pairing of gin and champagne. not to mention it’s super easy to make but looks and sounds fancy. most recipes call for simple syrup, but since i’ll do anything to avoid turning on the stove this time of year, i just use straight-up sugar and it works well.

whiskey kitten's blueberry french 75
what you'll need:
4.5 ounces of gin [i use hendrick’s]
juice of one lemon
2 tsp. sugar

1. squeeze the juice of one lemon into a cocktail shaker. add two teaspoons of sugar and 4.5 ounces [or three shot glasses] of gin.

2. fill the shaker with ice, then make like the talking heads and shake it up! then shake it a little more. this step is important because not only does it make the drink ice-cold, but it also waters it down ever-so-slightly.

3. strain the mixture into two glasses and then top with champagne/cava/prosecco. the amount of bubbles you use is up to you. most recipes call for three parts bubbles to one part gin, but i tend to favor the opposite for a stronger cocktail.

4. throw a few blueberries in the glass [i like to use frozen to help keep the drink cool]. then drink up!

note: if you replace the bubbly with club soda, you’ve got a tom collins. it’s not quite as strong but just as delicious.

note #2: mason jar cocktail shaker from olives and grace. vintage champagne coupes from the SOWA vintage market.

thanks for having me!

xoxo, erica

summer sips: orange pineapple cooler.

boston is burning.  it's one of the hottest days of the year outside.  parts of the city lost power yesterday, including southie where my dad + brother live.  it's hot, man.  hotter than hades [ha - learned that from my yoga instructor this morning].  i got up extra early today to get my practice in before it heated up outside and i was too scared to leave the air conditioning of my bedroom.

so, on days like today, staying hydrated is key.  water, juice, whatevs.  drink it up.  make sure it's something cold and refreshing.  like this orange pineapple cooler.  it's a mocktail, meaning there's no booze in it today.  but that's ok - some days you just gotta skip the booze, especially when you're feeling hot enough to faint when you are sober.  yeah.

i had some fun with this recipe today.  i wanted to make a pina colada-type drink to help bring to mind sandy beaches and dudes in speedos [ha!], but turns out that if you mix pineapple juice and coconut milk, it curdles.  who knew?  it was too hot to get coconut water and try it over again, so i improvised.  but this improvisation is delicious, and gives you an extra dose of vitamin C.  promise you'll love it.

orange pineapple cooler

what you'll need:
1 orange
1/2 cup pineapple juice
bubbles [aka seltzer water, club soda, whatever you call it]

how to make it:
juice the orange right into a big ol' tall glass.  if you really hate pulp [what, are you insane?!], strain the pulp.  then, measure in half a cup of pineapple juice.  i bought as fresh as could be without actually juicing a pineapple... imagine that.  the no sugar added kind with no preservatives is great.  then, pour in the bubbles.  you could use any kind - i used lime flavored bubbles to give it more flavor, but unflavored would do.

stir that bad boy up and sip with a straw - you'll need it to get past the pulp foam.

what, you don't color coordinate your drink with it's straw and your outfit?  i feel bad for you.

next week for summer sips we'll have another guest post - i am so excited about this one!  :)

hope everyone has some shade, a fan, or air conditioning.  or some cold water to dive in to. 

summer sips: gin rosemary bubbles.

now i know summer sips is always thursdays this summer, but come on.  no one was reading blogs yesterday.  we were all barbequing at the beach.  so i waited to share my cocktail recipe for today, when everyone is about ready to start drinking again :) 

bubbles.  it's my word for soda water, seltzer, club soda... whatever you call it.  i call it bubbles.  around here, bubbles is our drink of choice.  we rarely drink flat water, and almost all of our cocktail creations here include "top with bubbles."  this one is no different.

so for my first summer sips recipe, i made mint simple syrup.  and oh boy was that stuff good.  it was such a hit with PI [and me] that i made two more kinds: rosemary and lavender syrups.  the rosemary was thick, earthy, and just begging to be mixed with some gin.  so that's exactly what i did.

gin rosemary bubbles 

what you'll need: 
3 oz gin [i used bombay sapphire this time around]
1tsp rosemary simple syrup [recipe below]
4 slices cucumber
sprig rosemary
highball glass

in a martini shaker [or just in your glass] toss in some ice and shake around with cucumber slices, simple syrup and gin.  once chilled, pour into a highball glass and top with bubbles.  toss in the sprig of rosemary, and sip slowly with your eyes closed and marvel in the fact that you just mixed up that awesome drink.

rosemary simple syrup
same as the mint simple syrup recipe, just with rosemary instead of mint.  boom. 

the ratio of sugar to water is 2:1 - that is, two parts sugar to one part water.  [note: if you use raw sugar, like i do, your syrup will be super dark and not clear.  this will not change the taste.]  combine the sugar and water in a pot on medium heat.  add 5-6 sprigs rosemary [the more you add the stronger the taste, so adjust as you wish].  cook together until mixture is fully melted and combined, about 10 minutes.  turn off heat and let the syrup sit until completely cooled.  strain, then put it in a glass container and store in the fridge.  

happy holiday weekend!