Dare I say spring is my favorite season? As a Minnesotan, I *should* say that fall is my favorite…and let’s be honest, fall in Minnesota is pretty epic.
But dammit, we just got through the ugly stage of winter-into-spring, and things are finally green, warm and colorful. Plus, I have a spring birthday, so I really should be loving spring more than I do. Here is my attempt to catapult spring in to the #1 position in your favorite season list.
Spring will instantly shoot up to your favorite season once the lilacs bloom, right? The smell. The color. Those dainty, sweet little blooms that make the bees happy.
Now, pick those darling little purple flowers and make them into a cocktail! That’s what I did once my lilac bush bloomed a few days ago, and now I am sipping pretty with a delicious lilac vanilla simple syrup that you make at home. Plus, it’s paired with whiskey, another #1 in my life, and it does not disappoint.
If you do an internet search for “lilac simple syrup”, there will be a lot of Pinterest-worthy images of a beautiful purple liquid in pretty tablescapes. That is a lie. When you make your own lilac syrup, it is actually a greenish hue. No worries! It’s still sweet and has a yummy (but light) floral taste that pairs well with a favorite whiskey.
Lilac Vanilla Whiskey Cocktail
3 oz ginger ale
2 oz whiskey
1 oz lilac vanilla simple syrup, see recipe below
lilac flowers for garnish
Add ice to a lowball glass. Pour ginger ale, whiskey and lilac vanilla simple syrup in the glass and stir gently. Garnish with a few lilac flowers and serve.
Lilac Vanilla Simple Syrup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, scraped
1/2 cup of lilac flowers, washed and stems removed
Bring the water and sugar to a boil on the stovetop in a small saucepan. Stir. Add vanilla bean and lilacs to the pan and lower heat to a low boil for 4 minutes. Strain and cool completely. Store in refrigerator in airtight container for up to 2 weeks.
After some time off from the TV hustle, I made an appearance on Twin Cities Live recently, featuring some damn tasty coffee cocktails using coffee and alcohol from Minnesota companies.
My favorite is the Sweet Whiskey Chai, because WHISKEY & CHAI. YASSSSSSSSSS.
The coffee I used was from Five Watt Coffee, Blackeye Roasting Company, and Gray Duck Chai. I used alcohol from 2 Gingers, Pike Street Bourbon from Panther Distillery, Caruva Horchata, Ricura Horchata, and beers from Lift Bridge, F-Town Brewery, and Bent Paddle. Support those Minnesota makers if you can!
Sweet Whiskey Chai
2 oz 2 Gingers Whiskey
6 oz Gray Duck Chai
Stir well and serve over ice.
Mix equal parts of Caruva or Ricura Horchata and Big Watt Cold Press Coffee in a glass. Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Stir and serve over ice.
Black Irish Velvet
1 part Lift Bridge Irish Coffee Stout
Pour prosecco or champagne in a flute. Take a spoon and pour the stout over the spoon into the flute.
If you have been following Making it with Stephany for any length of time, you know that I am a big fan of yummy adult bevies and love mixing up new cocktails for the world to enjoy.
If you are new here: I’m a big fan of adult bevies.
I have a love affair with the Italian family of ‘Cello liqueurs. I have made Blackberry Limoncello, Blood Orangecello, Ruby Red Grapefruitcello and Crema Limecello. And guess what? Another winter means another ‘Cello recipe made with the abundant and plentiful winter citrus.
Welcome to the world, Vanilla Orangecello. This ‘Cello tastes like dreams and Orange Julius, but with vodka. It is as simple as my other liqueur recipes and has the same quick turnaround time, instead of waiting months to imbibe this tasty lil number, Vanilla Orangecello can be ready in about 3-4 days. I went with organic oranges because their peels were going to be sitting in the vodka/simple syrup mixture and I wanted to keep it as chemical-free as I could.
Sure, I could have just made a basic Orangecello, but with the addition of the vanilla and the lemon and lime juice for a little complexity, it really isn’t your average Orangecello; it tastes sweet, warm, and lovely. It also isn’t too acidic tasting like a traditional orange vodka combo, but fresh and easy to sip.
1 750ml bottle of vodka, this time I went local with l’Etoile du Nord vodka
6 large organic oranges, peeled then juiced
juice from 1 lemon
juice from 2 limes
1 cup water
1 cups sugar
1/2 tsp of pure vanilla extract or 1/2 of vanilla bean cut and scraped
Murphy was my oldest son. He was a ditzy, stinky, but gorgeous 75lb German Wirehaired Pointer. He had turned 13 in August and was still trucking like a GD champion. But December was hard on him. The cold, his age, and arthritis and unbeknown to us, he had some cancer growing in his puppy tummy. By Christmas time, things had gotten worse. The kind of “worse” when an all consuming food beast, such as my Murph started turning his nose up at his favorite foods, I then knew shit was bad.
I am not going to get into the end of Murphy’s life, but if you have been there before, it was as terrible as it gets. My heart is broken, and I feel stupid about it because since he had a large cancerous lump removed when he was 10, we started realizing that our big old boy wouldn’t live forever. When Murph started having problems in December, I kept pushing the reality in the back of my mind that his days might really be numbered.
What pisses me off the most is how dogs get screwed on longevity compared to larger and smaller animals. Cats are small and snobbish, and they can live to 20. Horses are huge and can’t sleep on the foot of your bed and can pull almost 30 years. But dogs, who can lick your tears and steal your orange slices out of your hand (MURPHY….) while looking adorable, get a measly 12-14 if they are lucky.
But I do feel lucky with the years we had with Murph. He loved babies and didn’t mind when they crawled over him, taking fistfuls of his hair with them on the way. He traveled to 9 states with us on vacation and never pooped in a hotel room. He kept me warm in the winter. He loved food, he was particularly fond of oranges, celery, cabbage, lettuce and whatever meat you could shove in his furry beard. He literally could smell the instant your fingernail pierced the peel of an orange and would instantly be at your side, chopping at the fruit that was just out of reach. The only food he would not eat was mushrooms, which was weird since he was a huge fan of eating yucky, dead things/random wild animal poop whenever he found it in the woods. And he could “talk” like Chewbacca. (Imagine Wookie sounds coming out of a dog–YES.)
Since Murph was such a legend, I decided to create a cocktail in his honor, made with his favorite fruit that is only in season in winter, his favorite season. (Pro tip: German Wirehaired Pointers are NUTS for snow.) It incorporates blood oranges and some other citrus flavors, along with elderflower and blood orange liquers to help you think of happy times with your furry dog sons and daughters. Enter: The Murphy.
1 oz fresh blood orange juice
1 oz St. Germain
2 oz Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur
2 oz Lemon LaCroix
juice from 1/2 lime
Fill a glass with some ice. Add the orange juice, St. Germain, Solerno, and lime juice to the glass and stir. Top off with LaCroix. Think of your favorite dog and enjoy.
Recently, I was asked by my super awesome friend Janel, who runs the NellieBellie.com site, to come up with a tasty cocktail to share with her readers. With the holidays happening RIGHT NOW, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to make something with whiskey and pomegranate juice. Enter the Whiskey PomPom. It is pretty smooth and delicious, and just what you need to make it through the holidays.
Want the recipe? Head to the NellieBellie blog and check it out!
Remember that one time I made a whole line of La Coix cocktail videos?? Well, if you’re new here, I did and they were recently featured on the super fabulous blog BonBon Break!
Check it out! And thanks to BonBon Break for the share!
I am on a tequila kick this summer. I blame having a newborn. My motto for this new little baby is: work smarter, not harder. So far, so good, as the babe is HUGE and sleepy and sweet.
But, that doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted and thirsty. Tequila sounds like the only remedy. Amitrite?!?
So I created this super, flippin’ delicious cocktail with ripe peaches, tasty tequila, and some fresh mint. Absolutely perfect for summertime patio sitting.
And I promise you, the simple syrup is CAKE to make. Don’t let that scare you from not making this hot little number.
Peach Mint Margarita
2 oz Peach Simple Syrup (recipe below)
2 oz silver tequila
1.5 oz Cointreau
1-2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
3-4 fresh mint leaves
kosher salt for rimming the glass
lime wedge for garnish
Rim glass with lime wedge and dip rim of glass into kosher salt and fill with ice. Then, add 2 ounces of Peach Simple Syrup and silver tequila to glass. Add 1.5 ounces of Cointreau and 1-2 ounces of lime juice (I like mine more sour so I do the 2 ounces). Grab the mint leaves, give them a slap to activate the oils in the leaves, add them to the glass and stir until well mixed. Add lime wedge for garnish and enjoy. Makes 1 margarita.
Peach Simple Syrup
1 cup of water
1 cup of sugar
1 ripe peach, cut into chunks
Add water, sugar and peach chunks to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and strain the syrup from the peach chunks in a glass container. Let cool completely and store, covered, in the refrigerator.
It’s summer time and I’m exhausted. Black coffee is still a staple in the morning, but when afternoon comes around and I need a little pick me up, I have been making iced coffee to enjoy. I HATE!!! the oil-based creamers out there so sweetened condensed milk is my favorite addition to cold coffee, Vietnamese-style. Yes, you can just add the canned stuff, and it is tasty, but I wanted more. More flavor, more depth.
I have seen lavender latte recipes floating around on the internet, but I wasn’t loving the idea of making a syrup to add to my coffee but I was loving the condensed milk, so I came up with a way to make lavender infused sweetened condensed milk. It was pretty simple, but you need to have an hour to consistently stir the milk mixture to make this. But let me tell you, IT IS WORTH IT. The sweet lavender milk is so good, I was tempted to drink all of the milk with a straw once it had cooled. It is SO GOOD!!
Want to make your own? Here is what you need and how I did it:
1.5 cups of milk, whole or 2%
1/2 cup of sugar
2 tbsp of dried lavender
1/4 tsp of vanilla extract (optional)
First you need to infuse the milk with the lavender. It’s really easy, you just need to make sure you don’t over heat the milk to prevent curdling. Yuck.
To infuse the milk, combine the milk and the lavender in a saucepan and bring the milk to a simmer. As soon as bubbles start to form, turn off the heat and let it sit for 20 minutes. Then, strain out the lavender and return the milk to the saucepan.
Then I followed this awesome recipe from the Food 52 blog, but instead of it taking 2 hours, my milk reduced in an hour, which was nice because devoting 2 hours to stirring did not sound fun. Again, you need to watch the heat on this to prevent curdling. Double yuck.
This reduced down to about 2/3 cups of sweetened condensed milk and I split my milk into 2 small jars to try one with vanilla added and one without. I liked both versions so I can’t say which tastes better as I really liked them both. So if you like vanilla, I say add it, and if not, leave it out, it still tastes amazing!
Once your infused milk has cooled, it’s time to make your coffee! Pour it into a glass, add ice cubes and then add 2-3 (or 4 or 5) tablespoons of the milk and stir to combine.
Pop in a straw and POOF! Your iced coffee dreams have come true!
The lavender pairs so well with the cold coffee and the milk, it is absolute coffee perfection! I will be drinking these all summer long and think you should too!
I’m back, you guys!
And guess what? So is Ecto Cooler!
Yay times a million!!!!!
Remember that super-duper, tasty, bright green “juice” from the 80’s? It’s back in stores along with the upcoming release of the new Ghostbusters movie this summer. And while I am down with the all-chick cast, I am 100% in love with the fact that Ecto is back AND it tastes so familiar and delicious, just like back in the day of crimped hair and pinned pants.
So, to get back in the swing of things, I made a fun little video for the cocktail and would love you forever if you watched it. Double bonus points if you actually make it and share it with your friends.
Making this recipe couldn’t be simpler. Here is the breakdown of the recipe to save for later:
Pineapple Ecto Punch
makes 1 cocktail
4 oz Hi-C Ecto Cooler
3 oz pineapple juice
2 oz St. Germain
3-4 leaves of fresh mint
Add all ingredients to a glass full of ice, stir, and enjoy ALL SUMMER LONG before the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man comes to smash up your town.