A few weeks ago the lovely Genevieve, founder of The Bitter Housewife bitters and RAFT syrups, sent me a package of delicious goodies. Included was a little gift set of RAFT orgeat and The Bitter Housewife Bull Run Barrel-Aged Bitters. I set out to create something that didn’t include whiskey, just to mix it up a little. I came across a classic drink called the Japanese Cocktail and thought it would be a fun one to try.
The origins don’t seem to actually have much to do with Asian culture, but a hat tip may be due to Jerry Thomas—it’s said the cocktail was created for a Japanese diplomat who frequented his bar. The original recipe calls for cognac, orgeat, and angostura bitters. I subbed in the Bull Run bitters and the result is boozy, a little complex and quite tasty. The cognac is very prominent, so if you don’t like cognac I would skip this one. Otherwise—definitely try it!
I like this drink as an after-dinner/dessert cocktail. It’s boozy and a little sweet and I think would be perfect with a slice of decadent chocolate cake. Read More
Question: When was the last time you did something for yourself just because you wanted to—not because you felt you should, or because you needed to check something off your list, or because it was important to someone else in your life—but because it simply made you feel happy, or excited, or fulfilled, or calm, or whole? Can you think of something? I hope so. But if not, you’re not alone. We forget about ourselves a lot. It’s kind of a bummer.
So when Erica Reitman, one of my favorite design bloggers (I’ve been following her since the days when we were both NYC residents!) decided to kick off her #monthofme, I hopped on the bandwagon pronto. It’s been a hard year, and I thought it could be really healing to spend 31 days focusing things I love and things that make me feel peaceful, joyful and light.
The concept is simple: Spend an entire month focusing on yourself—anything that you feel will improve your quality of life. It can be anything, truly—health, wellness, spirituality, education, etc. It’s up to you! Cause that’s exactly what the #monthofme is about: YOU.
Wanna join me? I recommend writing down the things you want to focus on, otherwise it’s easy to forget them or blow them off. Erica even calendared some of the date-specific items (like a spa appointment), which I love. Whatever will remind you that this month is all about you.
You can create as many or as few things as you want. It can even just be one thing. Do you want to spend the first 30 minutes sipping tea on your porch? Perfect! That can be your thing! Do you want to do that, plus 14 other things? That’s cool too! Just try and make it doable. Cause chances are if you make your list and there are a ton of items, you’ll feel overwhelmed and do none of them.
Yes, it will feel indulgent at first to sit down and make a list of all the things you’re going to do for yourself this month. But here’s the thing with self-care: the more you do it, the more you wonder how you ever lived without it.
Also: Don’t be afraid to pare down your list as the month goes on. Is that tea ritual just not working for your night-owl self? If you’ve tried something and it’s draining you rather than filling you up, let it go, and keep focused on the things that really are improving your life.
Below is my list. Since I’m posting this 3 days in to the month, I’ve started to adapt certain things here and there. And I may even add something to my list, who knows. Remember, there is only one rule: be kind to yourself this month, whatever that looks like. You’re important. And you are enough.
My #monthofme List:
Meditate for 5 minutes each day. Let me tell you about my mediation practice: I don’t have one. I’ve been wanting one for years but I’ve never been able to stick with it. So I changed the rules. I’ve been doing this laying down in bed before I even get up and for 5 MINUTES ONLY. Game changer. I don’t need to find the perfect chair, or position, or 20 minutes of time. I am loving it so far. I’m using Insight Timer because it’s free, but I’ve also liked my previous experience with Headspace.
Create a morning ritual. Again, something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile now. Nothing sticks. So I’m trying a few different things out and I may add or remove pieces along the way. My three things for now are: Pick a mantra for the day; Read poetry, nonfiction, or self-help for 15 minutes; Prepare and eat an actual breakfast (my favorite meal of the day!)
Complete a 2-week Bikram challenge. I dabbled in Bikram years ago and have always missed it since then. I love to run and cycle, and these are worked into my routine without much effort. but I love how yoga compliments those high-intensity workouts. I’m going to give it 2 weeks and see if I love it as much as I remember. Plus, the studio nearby has a 2-week unlimited pass for $39, which is perfect!
Make time for art once a week. For me, this is either creating art or seeking out art. Calligraphy, watercolor, collaging, going to see an exhibit at a local museum, seeking out a street mural—anything goes.
Journal. In high school, I was a HUGE journaler. I have them all to this day (and boy, are those mortifying…). Recently, I’ve started this practice again and it’s so cathartic. But it’s also one of those things I can easily let fall by the wayside. So again, I changed the rules a bit: If I’m tired or whatever, all I have to do is write just one sentence. Not forcing myself to commit to a long entry has also been a game changer. And usually even if I start with just a sentence, I’ll end up writing more than that.
Catch 4 sunsets. I was out on a run recently, at sunset by happenstance, and I looked up at the sky and it was bright pink and orange and blue and it made me want to collapse on the side of the road and weep with gratitude. Don’t you think we’d all be a little happier if we took time for more sunsets?
Spend 1 hour each week thinking of others. Ok, ok, this isn’t exactly self care, but it kind of is—because when I do something for someone else it makes me happier and I wonder why I don’t do it more. Plus, lately I’ve been talking to friends about things I’ve been having a hard time with, and the response from each one has been the same: I’m struggling too. We’re all going through something. Like, always. So taking the time to reach out feels like something I want to devote my time to. Can I send a card to someone who could use some encouragement? Who do I want to thank for making me feel loved? Who mentioned something off-the-cuff that they wanted that I can surprise them with? Super excited about this one.
Try something new each day. This is by far the hardest one, and I’m already failing tbh. But I’m gonna keep at it. A new roast of coffee, a new TV show, a new route home from my running path…anything! Why is it so hard to break out from a routine?
So what’s on your #monthofme list? Tell me here or over on Instagram!
What, you came here for a cocktail? OK FINE! This one is pretty delicious and so, so easy.
Spicy Pineapple Margarita
2 oz blanco tequila (mezcal would be great too)
.75 oz pineapple juice
1 oz lime juice
.5 oz chili powder agave (combine .5 tsp chili powder with 1/2 c. agave—add more to your liking!)
Chili powder + salt for rim (I use 1:2 parts)
Rim a rocks glass with lime, then the chili powder/salt combination. Fill with ice. Combine all other ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake until very cold, about 20 seconds. Strain into the rimmed rocks glass!
Things I’ve been afraid to tell you: I’ve been struggling a little bit with this digital home of mine. Lately I’ve felt like I’ve kind of been going through the motions of cocktail-making, shooting, posting, social media-ing (and none of it very well). It’s felt like more of an obligation than a passion. I didn’t think too much of it. It’s a phase, I told myself.
Then I saw this post from Glennon Doyle (do you know her? She is amazing. Go follow her immediate and let her blow your mind.) She talked about how she started playing guitar, after telling herself she couldn’t for years. That she wasn’t good enough. That she didn’t have the skills. But then she was like, wait a minute. That’s a lie. I can do this. And I don’t have to be good. Because art and creativity are not about showing off. Art is about SHOWING OURSELVES. Art is about showing our true selves to the world. THAT is what it’s about. Nothing else matters, really.
For awhile now, I’ve been creating based on many, many shoulds. I should be posting ALLTHECONTENT! I should be making holiday cocktails! I shouldn’t post about my life, too personal. I should stick to the cocktails. I should stay in my lane. I should follow the trends. I should stick to my niche. On and on it went. But I lost of sight of why I created this space in the first place: I wanted to share with you—not just cocktails but life. I really wanted The Shared Sip to be a destination that made us all want to be friends, to gather around the proverbial bar cart and share not just sips, but stories. It was never about the drinks. Read More
Whew! Thanksgiving is almost here and I have failed miserably to give you something delicious to add to your boozy holiday lineup. Luckily, this cocktail is both easy to whip up and batch for a crowd.
Cachaca is a rum-like spirit from Brazil, used to make the traditional caipirinha (ky-per-een-yha) cocktail. Some people claim to not like its unique flavor, but send them off to the pre-dinner cheese board with this guy and I would be shocked to hear any complaints. It’s full of cranberry, raspberry, lime and isn’t too sweet—a little tartness is ideal for Thanksgiving happy hour. It’s super bright and fresh—plus you can always add more of the syrup for any guests who aren’t sour-inclined.
Hope you have the best holiday with the people you love the most. That’s what it’s all about. That and caipirinhas. Obviously.
Cranberry Caipirinhas for a Crowd makes 4 cocktails; can easily be batched for more
2 limes, cut into rounds, ends discarded
4 sugar cubes
2 oz cran-raspberry simple (recipe follows)
8 oz cachaca
Add cut limes and sugar cubes to a pitcher and muddle until sugar has broken down. Add cranberry syrup and continue to muddle. Add cachaca and stir until well-mixed and sugar has dissolved. Add ice and stir again. Strain into glasses filled with fresh ice. Garnish each glass with cranberries, raspberries and lime wedges.
Cran-Raspberry Simple Syrup
2 cups sugar
2 cups water
2 cups fresh cranberries
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cinnamon stick (optional)
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow sugar to dissolve, stirring occasionally. Allow to simmer over low heat for about 20-30 minutes. Strain while still warm into a mason jar. The syrup may look thin but it will thicken as it cools!
Note: You can also strain the batch into a punch bowl, add ice and let guests serve themselves.
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