Another December is right around the corner, which means another month of stress, cleaning, cooking, too much family and not enough money.
Or you can skip that nonsense and head right over to cocktail hour.
I will be honest with you, friends; while I am a big fan of winter, snow and getting toasty in the midst of a cold snap, the holidays are not my favorite. I am not a Scrooge, per se, but a huge sigh of relief enters my psyche when January 2nd rolls around when I can turn off the Yule Log and cart that Christmas tree out the door and on to the curb. OK…that sounded a *little* Scroogey. Meh, so I might be a little salty for Santa. I will own my Scrooginess. I could give zero F’s about elves, magic, green and red (collectively), Christmas music and the idea of the perfect present. Bah humbug, amirite?!?
What helps me get through the month long shit show that is the Christmas season are cocktails. Yes. I’m easy to please. Throw some booze in my cup and I will tolerate everyone’s favorite holiday until the snow melts and Frosty is nothing more than a puddle… hell, I’ll even sing some Bing Crosby but know it won’t be in key.
Pomegranate Old Fashioned
(makes 1 cocktail)
2 ounces bourbon (I used Bulleit)
1 ounce pomegranate juice
1 sugar cube
1 maraschino cherry
splash of orange LaCroix
orange (or lemon) twist
In an Old Fashioned glass, muddle sugar cube, 3 dashes of bitters and 1 ounce of pomegranate juice. Add some ice (or a large ice cube if you are fancy) to the glass. Pour in bourbon and give contents in glass a stir. Add cherry, twist of orange and a splash of LaCroix.
Cheers to pine trees that live outside and to tasty cocktails all winter long.
I just can’t quit you, tequila. You are everything that is good and summery. When it’s hot, I need you. When it’s sunny, I need you. When it’s a Tuesday….you get the point.
Popsicles are the perfect summer treat and what better way to make them 100% more awesome than to add some booze to them. You may remember my Basil Berry Boozy Popsicles I made on TCL before (SO GOOOOOOOOOD.) but since my obsession with tequila, and strawberries being in full swing right now, how could I not make a frozen strawberry margarita on a stick?!? And I threw in a little coconut milk to make them creamy and tropical.
Make these! Now!
Strawberry Coconut Margarita Popsicles
(makes about 4 cups of puree)
16 oz package of fresh strawberries, washed and chopped. Frozen berries are OK, too! (save a few berries for the simple syrup, recipe below)
1 cup of coconut milk
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.