The awkward summer/fall straddle that is September. It’s a difficult time for those of us who just want to wear Vince sweater coats and be able to see our breath on a brisk morning walk. Is that too much to ask? But it’s 80 degrees for like two more months, and we aren’t trying to keep wearing white sundresses. The same goes for the drink menu. Summer is all about rosé and margaritas. Fall is for old fashioneds. So WHAT DO WE DRINK IN SEPTEMBER? I made it my mission to figure it out, and I think I made the perfect summer/fall transition cocktail that we can all sip on repeat until a heavier bourbon concoction feels more right (ok it never doesn’t feel right, but work with me). It’s a margarita to help us hang on to the laid back vibes of summer, but with fig, smoked salt and mezcal giving this cocktail a bit more sturdiness to make all our Autumn dreams come true. OK, and can we take a moment for these amazing marble hexagonal coasters and geometric linen tea towels by Savannah Hayes? If they speak to you like they do to me, scroll to the end to see how you can win some of these perfect home goods for yourself!
2 oz mezcal
2 oz fresh lime juice
1/2 oz Chambord
1/2 tsp fig jam
lime and fig slices for garnish
Stevia drops (about 6) or simple syrup 1/2 oz (or more if you prefer it sweeter)
Maldon smoked salt for rim
Crush the smoked salt flakes on a plate (larger chunks won’t stick to the glass). Use a lime wedge to wet the rim of the glass, dip in the salt. Add fresh ice to the glass. In a shaker, muddle the fig. Add mezcal, lime juice, Chambord, fig jam, your sweetener of choice, and ice. Shake it up, and strain into glass over the fresh ice. Add a slice of fig and lime wedge for garnish.
Yes! I’ve teamed up with Savannah Hayes to gift one lucky winner some graphic goodness. All you have to do is leave a comment below and tell me how you handle the September struggle (or just tell me anything you want to tell me) and you will be entered to win $100 to Savannah Hayes! US only.
I’m always going for simple when it comes to cocktails, especially at the end of the summer when laziness is in full force. Anytime a recipe asks me to boil something in order to mix a drink, I’m out. Nothing is easier than a vodka lemonade, but just mixing the two ingredients doesn’t do much for me. The vodka just waters the lemonade down. So I devised a new version that appears a bit more hipster mixologist friendly, but no extensive juicing or boiling required. With mandatory heat, obviously.
3/4 cup of natural lemonade (I like Simply Lemonade)
2 oz of vodka
Juice of 1 lemon
Slices of jalapeño pepper (to taste – I used half a pepper in each cocktail because I like it hot)
Stevia drops – this is my new favorite cocktail ingredient in place of simple syrup! Tastes great and turns any cocktail into a skinny cocktail. You can also use any sweetener of your choice.
Squeeze the juice of the lemon into a shaker along with a bunch of ice, lemonade, vodka, Stevia drops, and jalapeño slices. Shake it up and serve in a big ol’ mason jar. I also made this cocktail as a punch for a party in a canister and it worked perfectly for a big group. It’s the perfect end-of-summer last hurrah before we’re on to the dark, smokey drinks of fall!
While I was pregnant, I made it my mission to find a mocktail that didn’t taste like a kid’s drink. I would tell bartenders “make me something that tastes like it has alcohol in it.” Most looked at me like I was a crazy, pitiful person. Not until I had a good ginger mule did I feel satisfied. It doesn’t take much, just some fresh ginger juice and some basics, and you have a non-alcoholic cocktail that actually has some strength to it. Something you can sip rather than suck down in two seconds. Even better? It easily turns into a real cocktail with some gin. Now that my child is on the outside, I can make this for Thanksgiving with the hard stuff! For holiday parties, it’s nice to have something that works for everyone.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1/2 oz fresh ginger juice (I used a juicer but you can also make it using a blender or buy it premade)
1 oz simple syrup
1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
1 oz gin (or not, if you’re mocktailing it)\
fresh mint (a few leaves)
to garnish: lime wedge + candied ginger + another mint leaf or two
Combine all ingredients except the club soda in a shaker with ice. Shake and pour into a cup, then top with club soda. Garnish with lime wedge, candied ginger, and a mint leaf.
Is it just me or do cocktails just sound better around the holidays? OK they sound fantastic all year round, but there’s something extra fun coming up with concoctions with all the festive ingredients this time of year has to offer. I love a flavorful, fragrant mix of spices with apple or oranges any day of the week but this time I wanted to try pear for something a little different. The base of this cocktail is so simple – it’s really just pear juice and vodka (how fun is this Absolut Warhol bottle?) but adding cinnamon, nutmeg, a little lemon, and ginger really brings it to a whole new level without requiring anything fancy other than a great holiday dress. This would be perfect thing to sip on tomorrow while the turkey cooks, but it will also be a great go-to for the rest of the season.
2 oz vodka
2 oz pear juice
1/2 oz fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of nutmeg
cinnamon and sugar for rim
pear slice for garnish
Rim a glass with lemon juice and dip into the cinnamon sugar mix. In a shaker, combine vodka, pear juice, lemon juice, ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ice. Mix it up and serve!
Being the Moscow Mule lover I am, I’m always trying to think of other ways to spin that cocktail. The ginger beer is the key ingredient, and while it goes so well with vodka and lime, I’m craving something a little smokier for fall. This fancied up version of the Dark & Stormy is my new jam. It’s made with dark spiced rum (not a bad staple liquor to keep around for this season), fresh lemon juice instead of lime, some grated ginger for extra zing, thyme for some added complexity, and crystalized ginger for a garnish treat. Dark & Stormies are typically served in Tom Collins glasses, but I’m a fan of a shorter, stronger, more sip-able version. It’s so easy to make yet special enough to serve as a signature cocktail on Thanksgiving or at a fall soiree.
2 oz dark spiced rum like Kraken
3 oz ginger beer (I love Maine Root’s version because it’s the spiciest I have found, and not too sweet)
1/2 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
Small sprig of fresh thyme to mix in
A dash of grated ginger
Crystalized ginger and fresh thyme for garnish
Chill a lowball glass with a few ice cubes. Combine the rum, lemon juice, thyme and ginger in a shaker with ice and mix. Strain the mixture through a mesh strainer into your glass. Top the drink off with ginger beer. Garnish with candied ginger on a toothpick and a sprig of thyme.
Even though I’m never all that into Halloween themed stuff, I do love the idea of Halloween and I enjoy finding subtle ways to get into the spirit. It’s been a few years since I’ve gone as far as wearing a costume, but nowadays I’m more than happy to have a fun night at home watching scary movies or catching up on American Horror Story, and sipping a sinister cocktail. This one really fits the bill. In the 19th century, cocktails like this were “prescribed” as hangover cures. I don’t know in what world people are drinking gin and absinthe out of a stemmed glass in the AM, but hey no judgements. In this century though, I’m going to go ahead and say that it might be a little better for nighttime. Despite the intense alcohol content, it’s actually a very easy cocktail to drink. So be careful with this one.
3/4 oz dry gin
3/4 oz Cointreau or Triple Sec
3/4 oz Lillet Blanc (or a sweet white wine like Riesling)
3/4 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice
8 drops Absinthe (I highly recommend St. George – I sought it out after seeing this video)
Brandied cherry for garnish
Chill a stemmed glass with a few ice cubes. Combine the ingredients in a shaker and mix. Discard the ice from the glass and strain the drink into the glass. Add the cherry.
Autumn in Los Angeles is like a conflict of interests. When seemingly the rest of the world is crunching leaves, layering scarves and fully claimed by pumpkin-obsession, we have some of the hottest days of the year. This recipe for Autumn Bourbon Sangria is a perfect way to transition your cocktail habit into the spirit of the season. I love sangria so it’s fun to play with different fruits that are fresh this time of year! For Fall I’m feeling crisp apples paired with juicy plums and pears. This blend includes bourbon and a cinnamon stick garnish for a heartier take on the classic sangria. Yum, it feels like Fall already!
1 bottle malbec wine (or another full bodied red)
1/2 cup bourbon whisky
1/2 cup pure apple juice
1/2 apple, sliced
1/2 orange, sliced
1 plum, sliced (look for a juicy ripe one)
1/2 pear, sliced (look for a juicy ripe one)
1 cinnamon stick (more for optional garnish)
Cut all your fruit in equal sizes slices and drop into the bottom of a pitcher or glass jug. Add a cinnamon stick. Pour the whole bottle of wine, bourbon and apple juice over the fruit and gently stir to combine. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for a minimum of 3 hours and up to 2 days. It’s best if it soaks overnight before drinking, but if you’re in more of a hurry you might want to add a bit more apple juice to take the edge off. Serve cold or room temperature, garnished with a few slices of the fruit and a cinnamon stick.
There are some people who you don’t want to meet in the morning before they’ve had their cup of coffee. They go from red eyed monsters into functioning human beings. I’ve never been one of those people, but I crave the ritual of having a cup of coffee in the morning. As someone who loves to stay organized and keep to do lists (or Teux Deux lists in my case – you gotta try it if you haven’t already), the best part of waking up is sitting down with my coffee and getting my ducks in a row for what’s to come. We’ve seen all those Folgers commercials, but in our home the smell of coffee doesn’t gently wake us from our serene slumber…it’s usually our dogs pawing at our faces. Once upon a time the first order of the day was walking straight to Starbucks for my coffee which was both expensive and a hassle. The day I stopped relying on coffee runs for my morning fix in favor of our first Nespresso machine was the start of something new and great. Not only am I not spending $4 on a latte every day, Nespresso also never misspells my name. No matter how many times I have thrown boiling hot coffee at the baristas while screaming “It’s Catherine with a C” they never seemed to get it right. Rude. ;) But now I’m into a double Ristretto, Indriya, or Dulsao blend latte with steamed almond milk, a little maple syrup or honey, and cinnamon on top. SO good. Even better, recently Nespresso was kind enough to send me their new VertuoLine machine to try out which also makes coffee. Huge! I love having the option to change it up according to my mood and offer our overnight guests whatever their morning happy drink is , even if they’re a red eyed monster craving their regular full cup of coffee to return to normal and start their day….
Another game changer for the morning routine: our patio, which up until this week was strictly used as storage. We had this great private outdoor space attached to our apartment and it was filled with dirty bikes, stray tools, empty Amazon boxes and a six pack of Red Bull cans. We don’t even drink Red Bull! It was a disaster. We finally got rid of a lot of extra junk, put some fig trees, lanterns, potted plants, and garden lights out there, and now it’s my new favorite place to do work in the morning. Amazing what a difference a little refresher can make on your daily life!
I’m not normally a fan of drinks that include sweet soda (with the very specific exception of a Moscow Mule) but when I came across this one, I had to give it a try. I’ve heard that the paloma almost beats the margarita for the most popular drink in Mexico, which surprises me considering that up until I made this one I had never tried any version of it. It’s usually made with grapefruit soda which sounds right up my alley, but there’s something about the blood orange and thyme that just begged to be combined in this version. Why deny what’s meant to be? I love how easy this cocktail is to make yet it has the vibe of being complex and artisanal. It would be perfect made in a big batch for a soiree or for even just a casual taco night at home.
2 oz silver tequila
4 oz all natural blood orange soda (I used Whole Foods brand)
1/2 oz fresh lime juice
leaves of 3 sprigs of fresh thyme, roughly chopped
thyme sprig for garnish
1 blood orange (slices for garnish)
Combine the salt and thyme on a small plate. Use as much or as little salt as you like – I like to mix in a little sugar too since I don’t like too much salt. Crush the mixture together with your fingers. Wet the rim of a glass with lime and cover with the thyme salt. Add in a few ice cubes, and then top with the tequila, lime juice, soda and stir. Garnish with a blood orange slice and thyme sprig.
Holidays are for indulging, merry making, and imbibing, right? I had the pleasure of doing those very things with a fab, talented group of ladies at a super fun soiree hosted by the lovely Devon for a holiday feature that’s up on Glitter Guide today, along with Kelly, Mara, Sydne, and Jana. Hop on over there to see all of our tips on how to throw your own “Glitzmas” party. My tip is all about the cocktail, of course! If you’re throwing a holiday soiree of your own, I suggest serving a signature punch. That way your guests can serve themselves with ease and you don’t have to be in charge of keeping their glasses full all night. Plus, a pretty punch bowl makes for pretty bar decor. For this one, I combined two of my favorite sippies – the greyhound and champagne. It’s so yummy, super easy, and PINK. Enjoy…
INGREDIENTS (12 servings)
2 bottles of champagne or prosecco
1/2 cup of vodka (grapefruit flavored, if you’re picky)
1/4 cup of Campari
1 cup grapefruit juice
Combine all ingredients in a beautiful punch bowl. Serve in coupe glasses, cheers, sip, and proceed to make fools out of yourselves!