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Drinks

Pomegranate Cranberry Rum Punch With Candied Rosemary

November 16, 2014

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I know I know – I disappear for a whole month and when I come back, I only have a simple drink recipe to give you? I can explain. Our oven was broken – for six weeks. We rent our home so it wasn’t as simple as dipping into our saving to invest in a new one; instead, it was a constant battle of calling and emailing our rental company, them ordering parts, installing those parts (3 different times), and it still coming out broken. It was frustrating and I may have had a few meltdowns that made me disgusted with even bothering with the kitchen for a few weeks. Yes, I could have used the stove-top to whip you something delicious but it was the frustration of the whole thing that really unnerved me every time I walked into the kitchen and the annoyance took all my creative drive right out of me. So yeah – I was feeling negative the last few weeks and really didn’t want to bring you into it..I am hoping you understand. After a particularly nasty call I made when we were told it was fixed (for the second time) and I whipped up a big batch of cake batter only to find that the oven stopped halfway through the baking process, Wyatt snuck out of the house and returned with a toaster oven the size of our real oven. I am now able to bake you cakes, pizzas, breads, and so much more in this giant toaster oven so watch out – there will be lots more recipes very soon!

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Until then, I bring you a cocktail recipe! Thanksgiving is approaching fast and we are switching up the tradition this year. In years past, Thanksgiving prep was actually great practice for the freelance world; I would spend weeks researching recipes by scanning through magazines, Pinterest boards, and the indexes of my favorite blogs. I’d make lists of 30 to 40 recipes that would then be dwindled down to 10 or so by my stepdad and ma. We would then spend two solid days cooking (these are now shoot days in my freelance life) and prepping the food. It would all end up with a huge feast that we’d present to the whole family. Unfortunately, that won’t be the case this year due to my stepfather’s passing two months ago and my mother not ready to carry out that tradition just yet.

Instead, I will be heading up the the northern part of Wisconsin (brrrrrrrr) to celebrate with Wyatt’s family in their cabin. I am excited to start this new tradition with Wyatt’s family but am also bummed I won’t be taking control of the food this year. Wisconsin may only be 2 states away but the drive is 13 hours and I can’t imagine that a cake or pie will fair well in the back seat with Tuko.

So alas, I am throwing in the towel and only bringing ingredients for a cocktail recipe instead. Besides the obvious point that these ingredients will travel well and it’ll be easy to prepare, I am hoping to bring a bit of my family’s tradition with me to Wyatt’s event. It is not that this particular cocktail is an old family recipe but that my family has always celebrated with alcohol. Both sides of my family are German and we all tend to be heavy and joyful drinkers; I realize some families have negative views of drinking as it leads to dramatic arguments and un-controllable negative habits but not with my family. My family works hard and we also play hard; my mother and I have at least one ‘mother-daughter pool day’ a year in the summer months that consist of drinking sangria and lounging by the family pool, my grandparent’s drank a Manhatten together every evening as they talked about their days for over 50 years, my father pulls out the bottle of Jack whenever his old college buddies come into town and they drink rum and cokes while reminiscing about their old prank days, and my mother and I always get a boot full of glühwein during the holiday season when we go up to Chicago for Christmas shopping.  Similar to food, it’s nice to be able to take a sip of a certain cocktail and have my mind transported to a moment in time that I had shared with loved ones.

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Fresh Squeezed Heirloom Harissa Bloody Mary

August 25, 2014

 

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Today I’ve paired up with the fine folks over at Williams-Sonoma to share my favorite Bloody Mary recipe with all of you!

Hmmm…end of August. I almost went all season without posting a tomato recipe which would basically make me the worst food blogger on the interwebz. Some people look forward to tomato season for the margerita pizzas and others for the buscetta but me? I look forward to tomato season for the fresh squeezed tomato juice and the killer Bloody Mary’s. I’m not much of a hostess (“we have water and uh…we have some open bottles of tequila and whiskey”) but I never skimp on the Bloody Mary’s during tomato season.


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Most drinks you can tolerate if they are watered down or a little off but not Bloody Marys. Bloody Marys are such an unusual concoction to begin with that you really need to make sure it’s damn good or else it could easily be inedible. I personally think the secret is to have that kick – sriracha is my spice of choice usually but I ran into a huge deal on hot peppers at the market yesterday so harissa felt like a great replacement to experiment with.

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Blood Orange Smash

February 11, 2014

 

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This may sound like an odd question for February but have you been keeping up with your New Year’s resolutions? Yup, I’m still asking. I realize that most of us stop thinking about them after the first two weeks of January but setting these intentions are meant to be carried out throughout the year, no? I still have three light-hearted ones that are less serious (and going strong): naming 5 things I’m grateful for every night before falling asleep, going bra-free (this will probably have to change when it starts getting warmer and I have to actually wear things besides oversized sweaters. Was this an over-share? If so, I’m sorry. It’s not an act of feminism but just out of pure comfort), and hosting people more often. We’ve had friends over almost every weekend since the New Year and it’s been a blast – watching movies, playing games, and drinking cocktails (mostly this one).

 

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We are pretty obsessed with our cozy house but didn’t share it much last year. It’s so easy to get into a groove of laying around with our boxer pup and watching the X-Files (Or Seinfeld or New Girl). That is fine and all but having people over motivates us to keep the house clean, make fun appetizers, and play games that aren’t focused around a screen.

 

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Hosting A Vegetarian Thanksgiving

November 21, 2013
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(Although I wish this was my own feast that I was muchin’ down on, it is not. As a change of pace on VV, I’ve borrowed most of the photos in this post so please click on the images to check out more beautiful photos from the original authors)

 

I’m a total planner. Anytime my boyfriend mentions he’d like to go on a trip somewhere, I’ll have a full day by day itinerary wrote up and emailed to him by the following evening. He usually has forgot he even mentioned anything by the time he receives the email but I know he has to smirk a little in that moment he opens it to find days (usually by the hour) planned out with restaurants, museums, sights, road stops, forests, and campsites. At least, I know I smirk a little when I re-read those emails. I don’t realize I’m doing it but I’m being exactly like my father in those moments. He would take us all (my brother, my three cousins who lived with us, and my step-mother) on a two week vacation every August when I was growing up. For the months leading up to it, he would pull out the atlas after dinner and compare tourist books (this was before the internet was a real big thing) to what was along the route. I remember how playful he always was in those planning moments and he’d tease me with comments like ‘should we go gambling in Vegas or take that 7 mile hike all uphill to see the rock that resembles a monkey head?’ (as if either of those things were appealing to a 10 year old).

Most of these trips I plan are just ideas – tucked away in email folders – never to actually be carried out. Sometimes I wonder if I have more fun planning adventures then actually taking them. There is just something comforting about these plans being there – comforting in the sense that if we did ever decide to sneak away to the Smoky Mountains or Lake Powell or Montreal at the last second, we wouldn’t miss a thing because I’ve got an itinerary for that!

Anyhow, I bring this story up because I planned out Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is sort of like a trip – you spend months planning and prepping only to have it carried out in one big meal. The funny thing is I’m not even hosting Thanksgiving this year. We always have Thanksgiving at my parent’s house up north and all I do is pick out a few recipes to make the day of and demand a Tofurky. However, even though I’m not hosting Thanksgiving, I still made a Thanksgiving menu. You know, just in case I ever feel like throwing a Thanksgiving dinner on a non-Thanksgiving holiday or something? Okay, that sounded crazy. I just mean that I did it because I enjoy planning. Planning can be a hobby, right?

So, to get to the point, if you are looking to host a Vegetarian Thanksgiving this year or just still need a few ideas on some sides, here is how I envision the perfect Vegetarian Thanksgiving:

Continue Reading…

Fresh Squeezed Bloody Mary with Rosemary Infused Vodka & Goat Cheese Olives

July 15, 2013

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I’m all about playing around and inventing new cocktails (see: Loaded Hibiscus Arnold Palmer, Blueberry Basil Peach Fizz, etc) but sometimes you just need to go with a traditional cocktail. And NOTHING (I mean NOTHING) is better than a fresh squeezed Bloody mary during peak tomato season. It’s savory and spicy and elegant and just darn right delicious.

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There is this AWFUL local sports bar that we used to go to on Sundays because it was right next to our old house. And when I say awful..I mean awful. Big screen TVs so loud that you can’t hear the person next to you, bland bar foods that leaves the one vegetarian option of french fries, and snooty blonde waitresses that pay you no attention knowing they’ll get bigger tips from the table of men across the room. But despite the terrible service and atmosphere, I became addicted to their signature Bloody Mary’s. I didn’t even know I LIKED Bloody Mary’s before I had one here. It was like a meal in a glass…savory, peppery, and full of spice. This is what got me hooked.

This takes quite a few tomatoes to make a decent amount of juice so this is a recipe you’ll want to make at the peak of garden season. Plus, this cocktail will taste the best with in-season, right off the vine, tomatoes. None of the ‘recipes’ below are exact. Unlike baking, making cocktails is all about experimenting and working in your personal preference. Like it spicy? Add more sriracha. Like it strong? Up the vodka ratio.

Also, I recommend not wasting the leftover tomato skins – I just put mine in the freezer for the next time I make some vegetable broth but you could also use them to make tomato paste or even just chop up and throw in a salad.

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Rosemary Infused Vodka

  • 3 large rosemary sprigs
  • 1 cup clear vodka

Combine vodka and rosemary in a clear glass jar and seal. Stick in the fridge and let infuse for several days (I did mine three days ahead of time). Shake once a day. Strain rosemary and use the infused vodka in all your favorite drinks.

Goat Cheese Stuffed Olives

  • 1 jar of green olives, drained and rinsed
  • 3 ounces of goat cheese (or chèvre)
  • Salt/Pepper

Mash the goat cheese with a little salt and pepper. Stuff the peppers with cheese. (Yup – that’s it).

Fresh Squeezed Bloody Marys

  • Assortment of Heirloom tomatoes (amount depends on size and desired servings. I used 4 large tomatoes per a serving), halved
  • 1 ounce of Rosemary infused vodka (see above) or any vodka you have on hand
  • 1 teaspoon horseradish
  • dash worcestershire sauce (vegetarian version)
  • dash of Sriracha (you can even make your own over at Reclaiming Provincial)
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • Juice from half a lime
  • Salt/Pepper to taste
  • Celery sticks, for garnish
  • Rosemary, for garnish

Squeeze the tomato insides into a blender and do a quick puree until smooth. Add in the vodka, lemon juice, lime juice, horseradish, worcestershire sauce, sriracha, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust with more salt / pepper / sriracha to your liking. Fill a glass with ice and pour cocktail into glass.

Garnish with celery, rosemary, and goat cheese olives.

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Loaded Hibiscus Arnold Palmers

June 2, 2013

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Somewhere down the line I picked up this habit of “loading” my drinks with fruit and herbs. I could probably link this on my mother for exposing me to sangria at such an early age. Or blame it on drinking the same boring glass of soda water for lunch for over a year that I was bound to start throwing extra things into it. Either way – I’m hooked. There is something so elegant and fancy about adding a little bits of color and infusion into your everyday drinks. And it’s a great way to use up fruits and herbs leftover in your fridge – wilted herbs will perk up when placed in water so no need to waste your good ones on this drink!

This Hibiscus Arnold Palmer is summer in a glass. Not only is it full of homemade lemonade and fresh iced tea but it’s also chocked full of lemon slices, blueberries, and mint leaves. Heck, if I would have had cucumber lying around then I could have thrown that in there too!

Do you drink hibiscus tea? 99% of tea that I drink is in the winter and hibiscus is one of the few I reserve for iced tea and summer picnics. If you don’t have much experience with hibiscus tea then I would recommend the Republic of Tea’s Natural Hibiscus – it’s wonderfully delicious and makes a mean iced tea. And no, I’m not endorsed by them (other than that fact that I buy their product) so feel free to give me suggestions if you have a better hibiscus tea to try! There are supposed to be many health benefits links to this tea as well – ranging from lowering blood pressure to being chocked full of antioxidants.

I do hope to make my own hibiscus tea from scratch in the near future for you guys but until the flowers bloom like crazy on my plant – store bought tea will have to suffice. I do, however, make the lemonade from scratch in this recipe to guarantee a fresh and dizzying lemon punch. The following recipe uses agave as the sweetener in the simple syrup but feel free to use equal parts sugar if that is what you have on hand. Also, I keep mine pretty tart so if you like it sweeter than up the agave ratio or add more agave at the end to adjust flavor.

 

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Loaded Hibiscus Arnold Palmer

  • 1 cup lemon juice (from 4 large lemons) + extra sliced lemon for garnish
  • 1/3 cup agave nectar
  • 3 1/3 cups filtered water
  • 4 cups prepared hibiscus tea, cooled
  • handful of mint leaves, for garnish
  • 1/2 cup blueberries, for garnish

 

In a small saucepan, combine 1/3 cup water with 1/3 cup agave syrup. Bring to a boil, stir until combined, and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and transfer to a pitcher.

Juice the 4 lemons and transfer juice to the pitcher. Add the extra 3 cups of water to dilute the lemonade. Pour in the prepared hibiscus tea and garnish with lemon slices, blueberries, and mint leaves.

Serve over ice at your next cookout or picnic adventure.

 

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Blueberry Thyme Soda

April 12, 2013

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I’m obsessed with my Soda Stream. Like more than anyone should ever be with a kitchen appliance. I was on the fence about getting one since it seems like such a unnecessary expense but I’ve never looked back. I use it more than my oven, more than my blender, more than my crock pot, and more than my coffee makers – how is that for an ‘unnecessary expensive’? I’ll even go as far to say that I drink less sugary juice and alcohol because I’d rather have a big glass of carbonated water.

In the end, my need to give up every other drink is both a relief and boring. I’ve spent my whole life being the most indecisive person all of my friends and family know. I’m not sure why picking an ice cream flavor is the end of the world for me – but sometimes it can feel like it. I sometimes wonder if that is why I secretly like being a vegetarian. I only have to scan restaurant menus for the tiny ‘meat-free section’ and can pick between 3 options instead of 30. That’s the relief part.

The boring part is well…exactly how it sounds. I’m not exactly ‘bringing all the boys to the yard’ with my amazing drink selections. And sometimes I feel unprepared when having people over and all I have to offer is water. Making my own ‘soda syrups’ was my answer to this problem. These syrups are not like the ones I make for cocktails (see Rosemary Lemonade or Blueberry Limeade Cocktail) and are more like the subtle flavor you would get from a flavored sparkling water (AKA a La Croix). I sweetened this with honey instead of sugar for a mellow flavor that also make your water look beautiful (without all those ‘natural flavorings’ – whatever those are).

 

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Also, I should note that if you don’t have a soda stream that you can certainly just pick up a liter of sparkling water at the grocery (probably for 50 cents or less) and still give this recipe a go.

Now here’s to hoping spring sticks around along enough for me to whip this up again this weekend for some friends!

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Blueberry Thyme Soda

  • 1 pint blueberries, slightly mashed
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 spring thyme
  • 3 teaspoons honey*
  • 1 liter of sparkling water

 

In a small sauce, combine the mashed blueberries, water, and thyme. Bring to a boil and stir in the honey. Let simmer for about ten minutes. Remove from heat and look come to room temperature (or stick in the fridge overnight for a more intensive flavor).

Strain the blueberry mixture and discard the pulp/thyme sprig. Add the blueberry syrup to sparkling water and garnish with more thyme sprigs.

*Use agave to make vegan

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Citrus Thyme Cocktail

April 3, 2013

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I usually post in the mornings but a happy hour post seemed appropriate with this cocktail recipe. I reserve the winters for beer and baileys and mulled wine. But as the sun starts to show itself and the days are taking their time to set, I’m getting anxious for warm weather cocktails. You know – those cocktails loaded with so many fresh herbs and smashed fruit that you can almost convince yourself it’s healthy.

Well, I know it’s a little early for summer rituals but I had this ginger citrus infused rum to use up somehow! So over the weekend, I talked my boyfriend into firing up the grill, whipped up some pasta salad, and picked out the healthiest looking herb I could find at the co-op (which, surprisingly, happened to be thyme). We enjoyed an early dinner filled with veggie hot dogs, this citrus thyme cocktail, and watching our dog chase the birds out of our [new] bird feeder. It didn’t have the lingering warmth that summer grill outs tend to have but it sure felt closer than we’ve been in six months.

I may be jumping the gun on summer with the thyme but this cocktail is a perfect spring drink. The winter citrus is still lingering (you may even still be able to find blood oranges for this recipe!) and the soda water keeps this drink light compared to all those lagers you’ve been sucking down in these winter months.

Also, don’t forget to check out my post on how to infuse the rum with ginger and citrus!

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Citrus Thyme Cocktail

  • 1 1/2 ounces of Ginger Citrus Infused Rum
  • 1 teaspoon lime juice (orange or lemon would be wonderful too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • Sparkling Water (I used about 5 ounces but use more or less depending on how strong you like your cocktail)
  • Sprigs of Thyme
  • Slices of citrus

In a shaker, mix the rum, lime juice, honey, and water. Place in a cocktail glass with ice. Garnish with citrus and thyme.

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Music Pairing:

Ginger Citrus Infused Rum

April 2, 2013

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So remember when I made that Blueberry Basil Infused Vodka? Well, it was awesome. So awesome that I needed to play around with more infusions. From what I had read, you only get better batches each time you try since it’s all about getting used to how long certain herbs/fruits need to sit for.

This time around I used a combination of citrus (Blood oranges, lemon, lime) and slices of ginger. I let this batch sit for a week and half in the fridge (which was a little longer than the vodka) and added more ginger a few times throughout the process. The results? Success!

 
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Again, don’t forget to sample the mixture every day or two so that you know when to add more citrus or ginger and when it’s ready. Also, the infusion process can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks – it all depends on your flavor profile. Some herbs/fruits release their flavors faster than others so be patient and make sure to experiment. For more tips on how to infuse alcohol, hop on over to my original post about it.

Also, my last tip is that you use organic citrus for this. This is because the peel is where the pesticides are exposed to and the alcohol will be absorbing all the flavors (and pesticides) from the peel. Perhaps the alcohol kills these pesticides but we don’t really know…so why not be safe instead of sorry? And plus, shopping organic is cool – do it!

 

Ginger Citrus Infused Vodka

Ginger Citrus Infused Rum

  • Peel from 1 organic orange, washed
  • Peel from 1 organic lemon, washed
  • Peel from 1 organic lime, washed
  • 1 inch piece of fresh ginger, sliced
  • 2 cups clear rum

Place peels and ginger in a resealable jar. Top with rum, seal, and place in fridge. Shake daily and sample at least every other day. Add more citrus/ginger as needed. Should be ready after about a week! Enjoy!

 

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I served mine with a refreshing Thyme cocktail that I will post tomorrow. Make sure to check back!

 

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Song Pairing:

 

Blueberry Basil Peach Fizz

March 13, 2013

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And here is the cocktail recipe I promised to go along with the Basil Blueberry Infused vodka. It’s simple with the shining ingredients being the garnish. But that’s the way I like my cocktails. Feel free to smash the blueberries a little bit if you like a little chunk in your drink. This drink will probably be even better in a few months when berries start to become in season. I should have waited…but I’m impatient. Ah well.

Also. The whole peach and blueberry combination is my all time favorite. Try it with a Cobbler Cake or in this cocktail. It’s delicious. Heck, it may even replace your favorite strawberries and banana. Or mango and orange. It’s pretty amazing. You won’t be disappointed.

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Blueberry Basil Peach Fizz

  • 1 ounce blueberry basil infused vodka
  • 1 cup soda water (more or less depending on how strong you like your cocktail)
  • 2 basil leaves
  • small handful blueberries
  • 1 slice of a peach
  • Ice

 

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Fill a cocktail glass with ice. Then pour 1 ounce of infused vodka and soda water over it. Top with blueberries and basil leaves. Stick peach slice on rim of glass. Enjoy!

 

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Basil Blueberry Infused Vodka

March 10, 2013


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This is less of a recipe and more of a kitchen experiment. It involves letting vodka absorb the flavors for up to a weeks time. And involves sip tasting everyday. And adjusting the ingredients throughout the week. It involves playing with flavor combinations and getting use to what ingredients absorb into the alcohol quicker than others. It involves patients and curiosity. And, of course, a love for cocktail mixing.

The fascination with mixing my own cocktails started last summer with simple syrups. A simple syrup is, as stated in its name, ridiculously simple to “simmer” up. But you know what else I discovered is as simple to make? Rosemary simple syrup. Blueberry simple syrup. Cranberry simple syrup. The options are literally endless.

So after I had mastered the simple syrup, I was ready to move onto more DIY ways to make my own cocktails unique. I tampered with the idea of making my own bitters (after reading articles such as this one and several books from the library) but the ingredients were obscure and I never did get around to ordering the supplies (one day!).

And after many months of my cocktail making desires being dormant, I stumbled upon infused alcohol. I was out at dive bar where our friend was playing a show and noticed a bunch of jars behind the bar filled with fruits, herbs, and flowers. I questioned the bartender who was reluctant to give me too many details (perhaps he thought I was a spy from their competing bar next door) but what I did get out was that they were filled with alcohol and being infused for the next 4 days. In my slightly tipsy state, immediately upon returning home, I questioned google  about what could have possibly been going on in those jars and how I could try it out. I came to the conclusion that they were making infused alcohols and couldn’t wait to try it myself.

This is the first of two I’ve tested. I also have a ginger blood orange rum that still needs another day or two (more on that in the coming days – hopefully). I have a delicious cocktail recipe I served with this vodka but you’ll have to wait for that. Can’t give you guys too much in one post!

Make sure to experiment with your own flavor profiles! Try light colored alcohols to absorb the flavors quicker and think of your favorite herb , spices, and fruit combinations. If the first round doesn’t work out, don’t give up. Experimenting is all about playing around and it may take a few times to get to a flavor you are proud of. The infused alcohol will take anywhere from a few days to a week – all herbs and fruits release flavors at different amounts of time so be patient and sample your alcohol often.

 

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Basil Blueberry Infused Vodka

  • 1 pint blueberries, rinsed
  • handful of basil
  • 1 cup vodka

Transfer 1/2 the blueberries to sealable jar or container. Slightly smash them open so the flavors can be released. Muddle the basil leaves with a mortar and pestle (or use your hands to rip the leaves apart). Place in jar with the blueberries and add vodka. Seal jar and stick in the fridge for up to a week. Check daily and add more blueberries or basil depending on the desired flavor. [I ended up adding the entire pint of blueberries by the time the week was over but didn't add anymore basil].

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Strain using a small mesh strainer or coffee filter. Serve in cocktails or by itself.

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Song of the day:

Honey Bee Chai (Vanilla + Honey)

March 4, 2013

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This being the second post on Chai Tea in the last 2 weeks (see: Chocolate Chai), it’s pretty obvious that chai has won me over. Most people feel very passionate about coffee or tea. Very rarely do I meet someone who has not declared a side and swears by it. I am one of the unusual cases that really really really loves both! I tend to crave coffee first thing in the morning and prefer the benefits of tea come afternoon. However, there are times when I’m not sure what I’m feeling and chai always does the trick. With a little caffeine from the black tea and bursting flavor from the spices, chai always hits the spot.

Chocolate Chai is amazing and I’ve been enjoying it as an afternoon treat or after-dinner sweet. But this new vanilla-honey tea has been perfect for all those times I’m craving something not as sweet. The honey gives it the tiniest hint of sweet while still having lots of spice from the clove / cinnamon / anise / ginger / peppercorn.

Give this drink a try. You may never go back to your standard chai ever again.

 

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Honey Bee Chai (Vanilla + Honey)

  • 2 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 1 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 vanilla bean, sliced
  • 1/8 teaspoon black peppercorn
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 bags of black tea (or loose leaf black tea)
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons honey (add more if you like it sweeter)

Place cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks, vanilla bean, black peppercorn, cloves, anise, and ginger in a small saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring water to a boil and then let simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Let tea steep for about 5 minutes.

Strain liquid into a mug and discard leftover spices. Rinse out the saucepan and add milk and honey to it. Let the milk come to a simmer and use a whisk to make the milk frothy. Top off the chai with milk and cinnamon. Serve warm.

 

Song Pairing (a little Spencer Krug to get you through your Monday):

Citrus Pisco Negroni

February 13, 2013

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I don’t have a very sophisticated palette when it comes to alcohol. When sampling something, I would know the difference between red and white. Between gin and vodka. And between spiced rum and whiskey. That is about it. It’s not by choice…I love the idea of knowing how to tell where a wine is from based on the type of grapes that were used. Or being able to predict how old a whiskey is based on the bite it gives. It’s just not a skill that I have activity seeked out [ yet? ].

So I was pretty excited when Wyatt received a nice bottle of Pisco as a birthday gift (Thanks, Ma!). Pisco?! What’s that you ask? It’s a Chilean (or Peruvian) grape brandy that is usually clear or yellowish in color. How sophisticated does that sound? I can already sense my alcohol knowledge expanding as I type this.

We’ve tried a couple cocktail recipes and this one is by far my favorite. It’s very alcoholic yet mild tasting (if that makes sense). I like to add a splash of sparkling water because I’m a wimpy drinker (which my Mother likes to remind me every time we have a family gathering. Thanks, again, Ma..) and I like a bit of fizz in my cocktail. Wyatt prefers the drink without the water so feel free to adjust depending on how strong you like your cocktails.

Whip these up for guests next time you feel like showing off to your guests. “Ohh, I just can’t get over how much I’ve been into this Peruvian grape brandy lately…”

 

Citrus Pisco Negroni

Serves 2
  • 6 Tablespoons Pisco
  • 1/4 cup Campari
  • 1/4 cup sweet vermouth
  • 8 drops orange bitters
  • sparkling water, optional
  • cherries, for garnish
  • Orange peel, for garnish

Add Pisco, Campari, sweet vermouth, and bitters to a shaker. Shake well. Fill 2 glasses with ice and add Pisco mixture. Add a splash to sparking water and garnish with cherries and an orange peel.

 

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Chocolate Chai

February 11, 2013

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Hello, Monday. I can’t say I was entirely prepared for you. Can’t say I’m really that crazy about you in general. Sooo….how to make Monday a little less gloomy? How about adding some chocolate to our morning chai? WOAH, what a magnificent way to treat yourself! If I do say so myself…I’d have to call this a ‘YOLO’ moment. I can feel a new Monday tradition coming on…

 

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Chocolate Chai

  • 2 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 3 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon black peppercorn
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 inch of peeled ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 bags of black tea (or loose leaf black tea)
  • 3/4 cup milk (I like to use unsweetened almond milk to keep it vegan)

Place cardamon pods, cinnamon sticks, cocoa powder, black peppercorn, cloves, anise, and ginger in a small saucepan with 2 cups water. Bring water to a boil and then let simmer for about 15 minutes (more or less depending on how strong you like your chai). Remove from heat and add the tea bags. Let tea steep for about 5 minutes.

Strain liquid into a mug and discard leftover spices (or save them for a later use). Rinse out the saucepan and add milk to it. Let the milk come to a simmer and use a whisk to make the milk frothy. Top off the chai with milk and serve warm.

chocolatechai

 

Feeling a little bratty this morning:

‘Detox Affair’ Juice

January 28, 2013

jjuicing

 

EVERYONE in my office is sick and it makes me crazy paranoid. I feel like I can’t even go to the bathroom without fearing that I’ll catch the plague. I know it’s not a big deal but being sick really brings me down (as it does most people, I’d assume). And it makes me feel like I “lost” – I know that sounds crazy but I try so hard to take care of myself and my body. It just seems like my body would be telling me ‘Nope. You failed!”. Arg, shut up body and keep absorbing that Emergencee (Vitamin C tablet) I fed you an hour ago!

Anyhow, I know what you are thinking… “A Juicing Recipe, REALLY? How trendy are you?!”. But guess what…I live in the middle of the Midwest and Juice Bars have not taken over yet. Most people don’t even juice around here [yet] so, technically, I am still ahead of you, Midwest!

Also, I’m not here to tell you that juicing will change your life. Or that you should go on a juicing cleanse. Or that you should spend your entire paycheck (which I would probably have to) in order to juice 4 times a day. In fact, I don’t even know if I’m that crazy about juicing yet. I mean there is soooo much fiber that is lost in the process and it seems like a good chunk of the fruit / vegetable is wasted.

Soooo…if I’m so skeptical then why do I do it? Well, for one, I LOVE green smoothies but can’t seem to handle / bring myself to enjoy the heaviness / texture / cold of them in the dead of winter. With juicing, it’s light and packed full of flavor and easy to down in 5 seconds. Plus, I have x10 more energy in the morning if I start with this drink.

This is what I call my ‘detox affair’. I usually whip it up if I wake up feeling a sore throat coming on, drink a little too much the night before, or am having mad anxiety about getting the plague.

Interested in learning more about juicing? I find this post and this post to be particularly helpful.

 

 

 

jjuicing2

 

Wash everything and make sure to use organic produce. Peel the citrus and core the apple. Stick everything through a juicer. Perfect for one big glass or two small ones.

 

Something to juice to:

Honey Ginger Lemon Tonic

December 18, 2012

 

So, all anyone is posting about right now is Christmas. Which is awesome. I LOVE Christmas and kind of wish I was posting the awesome homemade gifts I made for everyone. Unfortunately, I am not… because I am sick and cannot bring myself to think about all the 10000xxx things I still need to do before Christmas. All that is currently on my mind is getting more lemons from my local co-op (which seems soooo far away right now)….

Within my four years of college, I had the fortunate (and at times, unfortunate) experience of living with 12 different people. This exposed me to many different eating patterns, traditions, methods of cooking, and ideologies about ‘what is healthy’. I’ve lived with people who ate too much, who didn’t eat, who ate pills for meals, who wouldn’t eat carbs but loved downing a tub of ice cream, and who believed in only eating out. Living with people… you see them at their highs and lows. At one point or another, I probably saw every single one of these people sick, depressed, drunk, excited, and exhausted. Everyone has different ways of dealing with emotions;  although I’ve lived with a few who thought that sprite was the answer to any sickness (no, thanks!) or a greasy pile of french fries would cure any upsetting ailment, I’ve stuck by one of my roommates method. She lives by the idea that if you catch your cold or flu coming on early enough, it could be prevented with a whole lot of orange juice and a honey lemon tonic.

Since living with her, I’ve adapted her tonic slightly by adding ginger (which helps boost the immune system) and it’s fantastic (well..as fantastic as anything is when you are sick). The taste is not overpowering (am I the only one who hates the taste of EVERYTHING when I’m sick?), the hot water is soothing on your throat, and the ginger/honey/lemon juice are helping you to kick that cold.

 

 

Honey Ginger Lemon Tonic

Serves 1
  • 2 cups of water
  • 2 lemon slices
  • 1/2 inch of ginger, roughly chopped
  • ~2 teaspoons of honey

 

Add water and ginger into a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and squeeze the juice from the lemon slices in to the water (then throw the slices in). Let simmer for about 3 minutes and then remove from heat. Add the honey to your favorite mug (add more if you like it sweet) and transfer the water mixture to the mug. Drink warm so the water can soothe your throat.

 

Homemade Grenadine // Tequila Sunrise + Shirley Temple

December 13, 2012

 

Okay, I have a confession to make. I grew up on Shirley Temples. Any fancy occasion that I was out with my family and my Grandma would order her ‘Manhattan’, I would proudly announced my ‘Shirley Temple’ drink order. They would bring it out in a fancy cocktail glass and it would be garnished with a few cherries. Ah, I felt like such a sophisticated ten year old.

But this is where my confession comes in. I went the first 23 years of my life thinking that grenadine was cherry flavored syrup. Wrong. How can you blame me? After all, they did always garnish those Shirley Temples with cherries! It’s actually pomegranate syrup! Who would of thought I was so health trendy in my tweens? If only I knew French then I would have known that grenade means ‘pomegranate’. Ah well. Silly me.

Anyhow, so I’ve been on a drink kick lately. More specifically, I’ve been on a booze kick (see Boozy Stout Brownies, Cranberry Mojito, etc). And my fascination with simple syrups started this summer when I first whipped up that delicious Sparkling Blackberry Lemonade. And then the Rosemary Lemonade. and then the Lemongrass cooler. and so on. You get the point. So when I found out that grenadine was just an over-produced, over-sugared version of pomegranate simple syrup….I knew I had to try my own.

 

 

If you are use to making your own simple syrups, you will notice that this process is a bit different because we are starting off with pomegranate juice instead of having the fruit boil and steep into a juice. But anyhow, it’s not complicated and more on that later. Oh! And last thing – don’t wear white while making this. The juicing part is both fun and messy.

 

 

 

Homemade Grenadine

method adapted from Reclaiming Provincial
  • 2 pomegranates
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups sugar (depending on how sweet you like your syrup)

 

First, the fun [and messy] part! Making the juice. I used a citrus squeezer and sliced the pomegranates into quarters to juice them. You could use a hand held squeezer if you have it or even a zip lock bag (break the seeds up as much as possible and then strain out the seeds). The goal here is to get as much juice out of the pomegranate without 1. breaking the tiny white seeds within the red seeds because they will release a bitter flavor (hence why a blender wouldn’t work) and 2. separating the juice from the tiny seeds and whites of the pomegranate. If you don’t have a juice squeezer, this may take some creative thinking on your part but it’s not impossible. Using my citrus squeezer yielded about 2 cups of juice from 2 pomegranates so try to achieve around that amount.

 

 

Next, transfer the juice to a small saucepan and add the desired amount of sugar (I started with a cup and a half).  Bring to a boil over medium heat and then immediately remove from heat. Stir until all the sugar is dissolved (if it has not dissolved already). Let cool completely then transfer to an airtight container and store in the fridge.

 

Annnnd, in case you were wondering what MY favorite ways are to use grenadine are…

 

Shirley Temple

  • 1 ounce grenadine
  • 2 maraschino cherries
  • ginger ale or lemon-lime soda

Place the grenadine and cherries in a glass. Fill the remainder of the glass with ginger ale / soda and enjoy!

 

Tequila Sunrise

  • 2 ounces tequila
  • 2 ounces grenadine
  • Orange Juice
  • maraschino cherry or orange slice, for garnish

Place grenadine and tequila in a cocktail glass. Fill the remainder of the glass with orange juice. Garnish with cherries or orange slices.

 

 

 

 

 

Cranberry Mojito

November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Eve! Do you have the Tofurkey prepped, table set, and diagram of the seating chart made? Then let’s celebrate the calm before the store with a drink, shall we?

I made this cocktail for our Friendsgiving Potluck over the weekend and as I was sipping on it and watching the mint / cranberries swirl around in my glass…I couldn’t help but feel like this would have been even more appropriate for a Christmas gathering. My thought process was fresh cranberries —> cranberry sauce —> Thanksgiving. Boom! Cranberries are served at Thanksgiving and therefore this a great Thanksgiving drink (which, don’t get me wrong, was a FANTASTIC Thanksgiving drink). But the red [cranberries] and green [mint] staring back at me in my glass was filling my head with thoughts of pine trees, sugar cookies, and candy canes.

So let’s agree that this is a great SEASONAL drink and would be smashing at any of your chilly weathered events!

 

 

Cranberry Mojito

adapted from We Are Not Martha
  • White Rum
  • Ice
  • Seltzer Water
  • Lemons
  • Mint leaves

 

For the cranberry simple syrup:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh cranberries (+ more for garnish)

 

To make the syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water and cranberries. Bring to a boil and turn heat down to low. Let simmer for about ten minutes and remove from heat. Let cool completely and then strain (OR for a more intense flavor move to the fridge for a few hours or overnight before straining).

To make the cocktail: Mix 1 ounce of rum, 1 ounce of cranberry simple syrup, and a splash of lemon juice. Fill the remaining space in your glass with seltzer water and ice. Garnish with mint leaves and cranberries.

 

VV’s Thanksgiving Suggestions

November 15, 2012

Okay. So I’m not gonna lie. I am starting to get REALLY excited about Thanksgiving. Not only does it mean a  5 day weekend (!!!) but also implies copious amounts of amazing food. My mother emailed me the final menu for the big day this morning and now all I can think about is mushroom gravy, purple mashed potatoes, and Cappuccino chocolate cheesecake. I helped curate the menu (with recipes from some of my favorite blogs like Love & Lemons, SpoonForkBacon, and JoyTheBaker) and cannot wait to spend an entire day cooking in the kitchen.

Anyhow, while my spirits are high on Tofurkey, I thought I’d share a few VV recipes that would be perfect for your big Thanksgiving day!

 

     

1. Oatmeal Molasses Rolls – Soft, gooey, and irresistible when fresh out of the oven

2. Glazed Honey Mustard Brusses Sprouts - tangy and crunchy will help bring variety to your meal

3. Cranberry Pecan Goat Cheese Pops – perfect little appetizer when entertaining guests! Super mobile, bite size, and delicious!

4. Roasted Carrots with Hazelnut & Rosemary - cooking with wine always makes things fancier, right? And these colorful carrots will for sure stick out on your holiday table!

 

 

Also, if you feel like adventuring outside of VV, I highly recommend checking out some of these thanksgiving recipes:

Collard Greens & Blue Cheese Salad (The Healthy Foodie)

Honeycrisp Bourbon Cider (SpoonForkBacon)

Parsnip Gratin with Gruyere (Feasting at Home)

Autumn Brittle (Adventures in Cooking)

Bailey’s Salted Caramel Chocolate Pie (She Wears Many Hats)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lemongrass Cooler // Collaboration with Dishes Undressed

August 24, 2012

 

 

Happy Friday! I have a very exciting project to share with everyone today. One of the best parts about the blog world is meeting other creative bloggers and being able to put your creative heads together to create something wonderful. Today I am collaborating with my friend Angie from Dishes Undressed.

We met through our Blogging 2.0 class and were both immediately drawn to the idea of swapping food recipes from halfway around the globe. Angie is blogging to us from Great Britain while I reside in my small town in the Midwest United States. This is going to be a fantastic adventure because I love stepping out of my comfort zone with food and trying things I would have never thought of. We are going to do a 4 part series (cocktail, appetizer, main course, and dessert) for which we both give each other a recipe that is traditional to our countries.

Today I am starting off with the Lemongrass cooler recipe that Angie sent over. This was particularly exciting for me because 1. as many of you know – I am currently OBSESSED with making simple syrups for drinks and 2. I have never cooked with lemongrass and didn’t know anything about it.

I had to get the lemongrass pre-cut and packaged because that seems to be the only way they sell it here in Bloomington but I’ve gathered that it usually comes in long stalk form. I also learned that is it used in many Thai curries and stews which means my head has already been spinning with ideas for my next lemongrass adventure.

The simple syrup turned out wonderful. Easy to make but very fragrant and flavorful. I used it make a little gin cocktail last night that was absolutely stunning. The lemongrass stalk made for a perfect garnish as well!

I also stumbled upon a great use for the leftover syrup. The syrup was so delicious that I may have added it to my morning cup of tea as … okay, I DID add it and it sweetened and gave the tea a hint of lemon. Delicious.

 

 

Lemongrass Cooler

  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 lemon stalks, chopped into 3 inch chunks
  • Juice from 1 lime
  • carbonated water
  • extra lemon grass, for garnish
  • 1 oz of gin, optional
  • Ice

 

To make the simple syrup: In a small saucepan, bring the lemongrass, water, lime and sugar to a boil. Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved into the mixture. Boil for 10 minutes or until the mixture has thickened. Remove from heat and let it come to room temperatures.

Combine in a glass with some carbonated water, a shot of gin, and ice.

Keep leftover syrup in the fridge and use the next mornings to sweeten your tea!

________________________

Also! Don’t forget to check out Angie’s part of the collaboration. She whipped up a fresh version of some delicious Southwestern Sliders.

 

 

 

Raspberry Arnold Palmer

August 16, 2012

And I’m back with another cocktail recipe (did you try the Vanilla Champagne Peach Punch or the Blueberry Limeade Cocktail yet?).  I looked into this ‘Arnold Palmer’ business and I think that this drink’s proper name might be a ‘John Daly’ because it has alcohol in it…but who has ever heard of a John Daly? I am sticking with Arnold Palmer whether it’s proper or not. End of discussion.

Anyhow, this drink was inspired from two every different summer experiences. The first was I received a lovely 4 pack of Pure Leaf Tea in the mail the other week which have just been sitting on my counter itchin’ to be experimented with. This tea is not only oh so delicious but it’s made from all-nature ingredients and contains no preservatives (how ideal is that?). The second is that Wyatt has been obsessed with those dollar gas station Arnold Palmer drinks. Honestly, I loved the idea of mixing lemonade and ice tea but those gas station drinks were not doing it for me (and neither were there dozens and dozens of grams of sugar). So…as usual, I decided I would just make my own.

This cocktail can obviously become a virgin cocktail by omitting the rum but honestly the raspberry rum really adds an extra level of deliciousness. This cocktail is the perfect refresher after a long day that won’t leave you feeling overwhelmingly full [helloooo beer] and tastes like summer in a glass.

Raspberry Arnold Palmer

  • + 1 ounce raspberry rum (I used Bacardi Razz)
  • + fresh raspberries, for garnish

In a fancy cocktail glass, pour even amounts of both lemonade and Pure Leaf Sweet Tea. Add in a few raspberries, ice, and a shot of rum.

Perhaps even garnish with mint (if you are into that kind of thing) and enjoy on your porch with your favorite puppy.

Sparkling Rosemary Lemonade

August 9, 2012

After making the blueberry simple syrup for The Blueberry Limeade Cocktail, I am obsessed! Simple syrups are soooo easy to make and they bring a whole new level to cocktail making. There is just something so elegant and old-fashioned about making your drink out of homemade syrup.

We have been having these ‘ladies nights’ at work once a month that have been super fun. Although social events are pretty common at my workplace because we all go out to shows/concerts when one of our artists are in town, it’s not really the best environment (loud music, lots of drinking, dark lighting) to really get to know each other. We have four departments so you don’t really think about how many ladies there are working here until you put us all in a room together.

The first two ‘Ladies Nights’ consisted of getting cocktails after work. Don’t get me wrong…cocktails are awesome but getting sloppy with my co-works at 7 pm was a bit awkward at first. However, we had a third outing this week and mixed it up by having a vegan potluck in the park (it wasn’t specifically vegan but there are several girls who are vegan so i didn’t want to be that jerk that didn’t consider other people’s dietary needs). Anyhow, I had remembered Tracy from Shutterbug talking about her Rosemary Lemonade on an old Homefries podcast. Perfect! I had to tweak her recipe a bit to make it vegan but it turned out mighty fine (if I do say so myself).

Oh! and with the leftover lemonade, I added some gin and made a perfectly refreshing cocktails. Just sayin’ – it was delicious and definitely took the edge off! Bring a whole new meaning to a flavored gin and tonic!

PS In my recipe below, I suggest that once the syrup is cool that you let it sit overnight in the fridge to bring out the rosemary flavor. However, if you are short on time then you can skip that part for a more subtle rosemary flavor.

 

 

Sparkling Rosemary Lemonade

 

Rosemary simple syrup:

  • 2 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 sprigs of rosemary

 

For the lemonade:

  • 10 lemons, juiced (+2 sliced for garnish)
  • 2 liter bottle of sparkling seltzer water
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar (or more to taste- I just left my bottle out so individual people could sweeten their servings to their likings)
  • Rosemary, for garnish

To make the syrup: Bring the water, sugar, and rosemary to a boil in a small saucer. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let cool. Once cooled, place in a sealed container and refrigerate overnight.

 

 

To make the lemonade: Juice the lemons whatever method you would like and cut the garnish lemons into thin slices. In a large pitcher, stick the fresh lemon slices, rosemary garnish, lemon juice, seltzer water, and agave. Adjust flavoring to your likening by adding more agave.

Serve chilled over ice or with a shot of gin!

 

 

Blueberry Limeade Cocktail

July 24, 2012

And it’s time for another cocktail recipe! I have really been spitting them out lately, huh? After posting recipes for both Vanilla Peach Champagne Punch and Strawberry Mint Wine Coolers last week, I am back with a new one!

We had a little “house-warming” type potluck last Friday which gave me an opportunity to make a few appetizers and drinks. I tend to lean towards sangria when it comes to making drinks for potlucks- it’s what my Ma always made for summer parties and it’s the main alcoholic drink that I am craving come August. However, we only had an hour to prep for the party (between work and party time) so I decided to pick out something a bit less labor intensive (cutting up fresh fruit adds up!). This cocktail was perfect because I was able to make the blueberry simple syrup the night before so I just had to combine everything in a pitcher right before the party. That made this drink totally stress free and gave me a much better mind set to just sit back and enjoy it!

Well, as usual, I took out my camera with intentions of taking pictures during the party but completely forgot about it as soon as people started showing up. Here is a snap shot of me holding the yummy cocktail (half the batch- this stuff made a lot!) before everyone arrived.

It’s kind of weird posting a picture of myself on my blog! I am usually always the one behind the camera!

Anyhow, if you aren’t planning to entertain anytime soon, you can definitely whip this blueberry syrup up and then store it in the fridge. It’ll be perfect to bring out when you need to whip up a cocktail for yourself after a looooong day of work.

 

PS Use cane sugar to make vegan!

 

Blueberry Limeade Cocktail

For the Blueberry syrup:

  • 1/2 pint blueberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water

 

For the cocktail:

  • 2 liter of seltzer water
  • a bottle of gin (about 700mm/24 fluid ounces)
  • 1/2 pint blueberries (for garnish)
  • Ice

 

To make the blueberry syrup: Place the 1/2 pint of blueberries in a small sauce pan and use the back of a wooden spoon to mash them as much as possible. Add the sugar and water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, lower to a simmer and stir for ten minutes (or until a super deep blue/purple forms). Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Stick in an air tight container and in the fridge until chilled or ready to use.

To make the cocktail: In a large pitcher, combine the seltzer water, gin, and blueberry simple syrup. Serve over ice in fancy glasses!

Look at that color!

Vanilla Peach Champagne Punch

July 13, 2012

 

Here are two preview pictures of a dinner picnic that Wyatt, Taco (/Tuko), and I went on last night. We found a new spot on the lake that is absolutely gorgeous and super secluded (don’t get me wrong- I love our usual spot where we know we will run into dozens of friends to swim with but sometimes it’s nice to take a break and find a peaceful place that is your own). I hope to post a full spread about the picnic once I get around to editing all the pictures (hopefully early next week).

 

Anyhow. Let’s talk about cocktails.

 

And here is my SECOND cocktail recipe for the week! I think that means I can officially put a line through my summer goal of experimenting with new drinks (don’t worry- that doesn’t mean I am done with cocktails for the summer..just makes me feel good about knocking something off my list).

I actually made a virgin version of this the first time and was so in love with it that I made it again (this time with champagne) the next evening! We have been having people over almost every other night to show friends our new house which means non-stop cocktail parties! Wooohooo!

 

 

Vanilla Peach Champagne Punch

  • 4 peaches, pits removed
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1/2 cup peach nectar
  • 1 bottle of champagne (or fizzy water if you want to go virgin-style)

 

Blend together the peaches, sugar, vanilla, and nectar in a blender. Mix in the champagne and serve with your cutest vintage pitch and loads of ice!

Done.

 

I bet these would be even cuter with a small vanilla bean garnish! I took the pictures in a hurry since I whipped these up for guests but feel free to add your own character to them!

Strawberry and Mint Wine Cooler

July 11, 2012

Now that the heat wave is officially over (fingers crossed), it’s time to pull out your favorite recliner into the yard, pick up an alcoholic drink, and station yourself in the yard with all those back issues of ‘Vegetarian Times’ for the next month. Oh wait, or is that just something I do?

One of my summer goals was to experiment with new cocktails. I’ve enjoyed Tequila Sunrises and Dark & Stormys at the bars but what about experimenting at home? It’s already July and I’ve posted about…ONE cocktail. Not okay. Come on, get with it! To catch up for lost time I made TWO cocktails this weekend and am oh so excited to show them with you!

This simple wine cooler was something super easy that I made to spice up the plain white wine I was indulging in. Really, it’s not even a cocktail…but just a fun way to jazz up your drink. Heck, you could use sparkling water or sprite or champagne (oh!) instead of the white wine.

 

Strawberry Mint Wine Cooler

  • 1 bottle of your favorite white wine
  • 1 cup strawberries, chopped
  • a handful of mint leaves, torn slightly (to release extra flavor)
  • 1 cup carbonated/seltzer water (to make it fizzzzy and refreshing!)

Combine all ingredients in a pitch and serve over ice. Enjoy on your porch couch or hammock while watching your amusing puppy play in the yard.