Halloween Fishbowl Cauldron for 2 makes 2 cocktails
Great news—this basically makes itself. Pick up a plastic cauldron or pumpkin (ideally meant for food or drink). Skewer your favorite Halloween candy onto lollipop sticks or bamboo skewers, available at baking shops and most large chain retailers like Target. Use everything you can imagine, from Snickers to sour gummies! Place the sticks in the cauldron. Fill with your favorite cocktail. Add two straws and sip spookily!
Looking for another great Halloween cocktail? Check out my Spooky Spritz!
Sometimes I’m just hankering for a gin cocktail that isn’t a G&T—and this one, adapted from the Death & Co. book’s recipe for a “Tom Bomb”, is pretty easy to put together and you likely have the ingredients on hand. I’m looking forward to creating the original recipe next summer when pineapple feels a little more in-season—though really, is there ever a time when those tiki flavors don’t make your mouth water?
Cinnabomb makes 2 cocktails
3 oz gin – I used Tanqueray (any London dry should work here)
Confession: I don’t make cocktails every night. Not even every other night. When I’m actually making them to sip (and not just photograph for this blog), it’s typically a Friday or Saturday night—not a Tuesday. This means two things: 1) I go through my cocktail ingredients way slower than you would guess and 2) since I’m not always drinking (cocktails that is—I can typically be found with a glass of wine in my hand, a tragic/wonderful side effect of living in wine country), I’m often baking instead. I love to bake. It’s therapeutic and delicious at the same time!
I follow approximately 534789574983 baking/cooking blogs and am constantly saving dessert recipes. Hi, my name is Christy and I’m a digital recipe hoarder.
BUT, since I’m a selfless, giving, ultra compassionate person, I’m always looking for ways to adapt food and baking recipes to make sense for this blog—sometimes that’s creating a food/cocktail pairing, sometimes it’s adding booze to the recipe, and sometimes it’s just getting creative and using my artistic license with abandon. That last one is where these gems come into play!
I really wanted to make this recipe from Displaced Housewife because I love chocolate and fruit situations (orange and chocolate is my ultimate fave)—and then the idea of substituting maraschino cherries for the dried cherries hit me! Jars of Luxardo maraschino cherries are $20 a pop (let’s not talk about it) and honestly they just sit in my fridge for months, pulling them out once in awhile to see what my husband thinks the chance of death would be if I consumed one. I haven’t died yet, but I have thrown jars away as I wept silently for forgiveness to the cocktail/Bank of America gods.
But alas! I had found a way to use some of these tasty beauties before their doomsday. These cookies are so unique and interesting—your family or party guests or coworkers won’t even see these cherries coming! They have a super distinct flavor but are balanced with the sweet chocolate and the flaky sea salt. Plus I only added enough cherries so that you only get one or two pieces in each cookie, which is the perfect amount. YES.
I hope you make these and nibble on one with your nightcap—I love them with a manhattan, or old fashioned, or a boulevardier. Yep, even (especially?!) on a Tuesday.
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips, I love 60% cacao Ghirardelli chips
½ cup olive oil
3 large eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup bread flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
25 Luxardo maraschino cherries, drained from their juices (place them on a cookie rack and allow juices to drip off onto wax or parchment paper), then cut in half or coarsely chopped
Sea salt flakes (don’t skip this!)
Melt the chocolate and oil in the microwave (in 30 second increments) or in a double boiler. Stir the chocolate to get rid of any chunks. Let cool slightly and then whisk in eggs, brown sugar, granulated sugar, and vanilla.
In another bowl whisk together the two flours, cocoa powder, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Pour the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture and give a couple of stirs until the dough is just starting to come together. Add the cherries and mix until just barely combined. Lay some plastic wrap on the counter, dump the dough on top and wrap tightly. Chill the cookie dough for 20-30 minutes in the fridge.
While the dough chills, preheat your oven to 375 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Gently roll 1 tablespoon of dough into a ball and place on the cookie sheet allowing about two inches between each dough ball. Bake for 9 minutes—don’t overbake! 9 minutes was perfect for me. You want to slightly under bake them. Once out of the oven sprinkle with the sea salt flakes and allow the cookies to cool on the sheet for 5 minutes then transfer to a cooling rack. Eat them alongside a manhattan or old fashioned!
Need another way to use up some of those Luxardo cherries? Whip up this bourbon number—it’s one of my favorites!
This summer I’ve loved experimenting with spritzes—the classic Italian drink traditionally composed of a bitter liqueur and sparkling wine. You may even remember one of my recent posts that was, in fact, a spritz, despite it’s name. They’re at once complex and simple, sweet and bitter, refreshing and soothing.
As summer comes to an end, I don’t want to send spritzes packing—in fact, I’m here to argue that the traditionally warm-weather drink should definitely be sipped year round. It works on cool fall evenings, perfect for weekend brunches and even as a nightcap.
This variation brings in a hearty hibiscus flavor, which really compliments the Campari, as well as a warm cinnamon note. You can add as little or as much cinnamon syrup as you like—it’s delicious any way you pour it.
Hibiscus leaves are easy to find—typically at most Whole Foods or specialty markets in the bulk bins or spice section. If you can’t find them, fret not—forgo the infusion and simply use Campari as-is.
I’m excited to play around with other spritz variations this winter—I’m thinking a spiced pear or pine liqueur spritz would be perfectly sipped fireside.
Cinnamon + Hibiscus Campari Spritz makes 1 cocktail; build each individually
1 oz hibiscus-infused Campari (recipe follows)
.5 oz cinnamon bark syrup (recipe follows)
4 oz dry rosé
Seltzer or club soda
Cinnamon stick and orange peel for garnish
Build cocktail in a rocks glass filled with ice, starting with the Campari and ending with the seltzer. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and orange peel!
Combine 1/2 cup Campari and 1 tbsp dried hibiscus leaves in a mason jar. Shake well and allow to steep overnight (at least 12 hours). Strain leaves and store the infused campari in an airtight container.
Cinnamon Bark Syrup
Combine 1 oz cinnamon stick shards (from about 3-5 sticks) with 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the bark to steep in the syrup overnight. Strain bark from the syrup and store in the fridge for up to 2 months.
Confession: I’ve been keeping the perfect summertime cocktail from you. Truth be told, I’ve been drinking this raspberry, cucumber + mint punch all summer long—on lazy Saturdays, warm evenings, and I even whipped a batch up for friends when I was out at Fire Island in New York in June. It’s a pretty simple cocktail but a total crowd pleaser. And I’m sorry for keeping it from you (don’t hate me!).
My mom (see also: my #1 fan and avid cocktail enthusiast) actually introduced me to this drink, which she spotted in a magazine. We made it together and it was an instant keeper. I’m calling this a punch because it’s easiest made in a larger batch, but I’ve also halved it when I was making the drink for two. The best thing about this is that you can’t really mess it up. If you add too much sugar, just top it off with more soda water. If you don’t muddle enough raspberries, you can always throw a few more in.
I know it’s almost September—did I mention I was sorry?!—but there’s still time to sip this punch as the dog days of summer come to a close. Can you think of a better way to end the season?
Raspberry, Cucumber + Mint Punch makes 4-6 cocktails; adapted from Sunset Magazine
1 ½ c. raspberries, plus a few for garnish
Half of an English cucumber (regular will work too, just scoop out the seeds), sliced
3 tbsp fresh mint leaves, torn in half, plus more for garnish
¼ c. sugar
3 oz fresh lemon juice
8 oz gin (I used Tanqueray – a london dry gin works well here)
8-12 oz seltzer
Fill 4-6 lowball or rocks glasses with ice. Set aside.
In a large pitcher, muddle the raspberries, cucumber slices and mint leaves. Add sugar and lemon juice and continue to muddle until all of the juices have been released from the cucumber and raspberries. Strain through a fine mesh strainer. Discard the solids and return to the pitcher. Add gin and stir well.
Divide the cocktail amongst the glasses and top each with 2-3 oz of seltzer. Garnish with a raspberry and mint sprig.
Want more end-of-summer sips? Here are a few for inspiration!
I don’t know if S’mores Week is an actual thing or not, but one of my favorite blogs, Dessert for Two, is celebrating (with these insane mini s’mores baked Alaskas), which is good enough for me! Cue this delicious (and also frozen, due to: insane summer heat wave in California) Drunken Mezcal S’mores Ice Cream!
You know how when you buy ice cream at the store, you rush home SO EXCITED BECAUSE ICE CREAM DUH and then you dig in and it’s often a little…disappointing? I know. Been there. There are never enough mix-ins, AMIRITE? The container says: “loaded with chocolate chunks, swirls of caramel, brownie in each bite!” Reality says: You spend 20 minutes channeling your inner paleontologist, digging through the ice cream to unearth one of the 3 chocolate chunks, then putting the carton back in the freezer where it will accumulate freezer burn and you toss it 4 weeks later. The struggle is so real.
That’s where homemade ice cream comes in. You can literally add anything you want to your base, and as much of it as your little heart desires. So that’s exactly what I did here. The mix-ins to ice cream ratio is a little embarrassing, tbh. But really this is no time to pretend like we’re counting calories over here. Save that madness for January. Read More
I’m always looking for a standby summer sip, beyond my go-to margarita or gin & tonic. I love a spritz, but wanted to add a little sweetness and sub in rosé (there is never a wrong time for rosé!) which is basically summer in a glass. I love any chance I get to use my St. George raspberry liqueur too—and it’s great in this drink, since you only use a splash. Topped off with bubbly water and voila—summertime soiree is complete! Read More
With the summer solstice arriving last week, it’s official: summer is here! Living in wine country (Sonoma County to be specific—we live just south of Healdsburg, a quintessential wine town if there ever was one), I drink a LOT of wine. Kyle and I typically drink a glass with dinner at night, and are often stopping into local wineries.
As much as I love just sipping wine, I also love to play with it in cocktails and food (dessert especially!). I had a chilled bottle of sauvignon blanc that was feeling a little neglected, and the cherries on my counter were at their peak ripeness. Sangria it was!
I can’t believe I’ve never posted a sangria recipe here! If I had to choose, I would probably favorite red sangria over white, but the warm summer months beg for a white wine or rosé sangria. I made a cherry compote using just cherries, sugar and brandy, which I think really adds something to the sangria without loading it up with a lot more booze. Top it off with fresh stone fruit and your afternoon is officially spoken for. Happy summering!
Cherry Compote & Peach Sangria makes 4 cocktails
1 bottle of crisp dry white wine (I think sauvignon blanc works well here, but you could also use any dry, light white)
1 cup cherry compote (recipe follows)
handful of fresh cherries
1 ripe peach, nectarine or similar
To 4 wine glasses, add a healthy dollop of the cherry compote (1-2 tbsp). Fill halfway with ice. Add a few fresh cherries and a couple slices of the stone fruit. Top with white wine. Drop an extra cherry and slice of peach on top and you’re set!
Bring all ingredients to a boil in a saucepan; reduce heat to low. Simmer until cherries begin to release their juices, about 10 minutes. Remove cherries from pan and let the sauce continue to thicken until it’s a syrupy consistency, about 20 minutes. Add cherries back to the sauce and store in an airtight container in the fridge. Keeps for about 2 weeks.
To me, a bloody mary is right up there with a margarita—a super simple drink, but a total go-to. I love that you can tinker with it based on what you’re in the mood for (olives? lemon? lime? spicy? mild?). For this take on the cocktail, I wanted to use harissa to add spiciness, rather than my usual tabasco. If you’re not familiar with harissa, don’t worry—I wasn’t either. It’s only recently been added to my kitchen, as I saw it incorporated in more recipes I wanted to make. It’s a chili pepper paste that originated in North Africa, but is probably most often associated with Middle Eastern cuisine. You can find it at most specialty markets in the international aisle—and it keeps well too, since you’ll be using it sparingly.
For the kebabs, use whatever you love! I built mine with a mixture of my favorites: spicy dill pickles, sweet cherry peppers, balls of mozzarella and an assortment of charcuterie. This would be great for a bloody mary bar at a party—guests could show off their kebab creations! Who doesn’t love a bite with each sip?
One other note: I used a store-bought mix for the base of this. I KNOW. Blasphemy, right? Not so fast. There are so many great bloody mary mixes out in the market these days, to slave over the exact spice additions to tomato juice sounds a little silly to me. Plus, you can totally jazz up a store-bought mix, too. In addition to the harissa, I added celery bitters, a squeeze of lime juice, a dollop of horseradish, and a dash of chipotle chili powder. So good.
Harissa Bloody Mary with Antipasti Kebabs makes 2 cocktails
For the rim: combine equal parts old bay and salt.
Rim two highball glasses with lime, then dip into the Old Bay/salt mixture. Combine all other ingredients in a shaker with ice, including the lime wedges. Shake until very cold, about 20 seconds. Strain into the rimmed glasses filled with fresh ice. Top with an antipasti kebab!
If you’ve never had a classic Old Fashioned, first: shame on you. Second: it’s one of the best cocktails in existence. Perfectly boozy, sweet and bitter, it covers all the cocktail bases. A traditional Old Fashioned is made up of bourbon or whiskey, a sugar cube or simple syrup, and bitters. Of course, there are many variations—I just had one in NOLA with demerara simple that was to-die-for—and it’s a classic that begs for a little experimentation.
I had a brandy old fashioned at Sonoma Cider just up the road in Healdsburg (PSA: their new taproom is awesome). Besides crafting some amazing ciders, they also distill their own apple brandy. Though I did try a flight of 6 ciders (no brainer there), I also snagged their cocktail menu and ordered up their brandy old fashioned. It was perfectly sweet, unique, and a drink I knew I wanted to recreate at home. Read More