you all y’all who commented with your kind words and encouragement on my last post about my new style and the possibility of some new direction in this little slice of internet. As I anticipated, I am freshly inspired to keep writing about thrifting, style and some other practical areas of my life…. such as cocktails! I don’t call myself “spirited” for nothing! I have a spirited nature, no doubt about it – here in the South they call women like us “steel magnolias” so now I need some Southern dresses and a hat and Dolly Parton hair salon. I’m also spiritual – I love Jesus and think often how His first miracle was turning water into wine. That is my kinda Jesus! And, if you follow me here or on Instagram, you also know I like me some spirits, as in cocktails. I don’t need a fancy occasion though I certainly enjoy a home cocktail party! A fancy occasion most days is 4pm, give or take 4 hours. I have enjoyed having Hurricane Harvey guests because my new friend Pam is also a steel magnolia and enjoys a spirited sip! Cocktails are definitely more fun when shared!
When we moved to Houston, we could not bring any liquids. (Cut to the scene where I packed up my collection and bid it adieu, sniff sniff.) I have been slowly rebuilding my liquor cabinet and I may or may not already be on my second bottle of tequila. #nojudgment So, I have not been making super fancy multi-ingredient cocktails and I could never claim to be a bonafide food or cocktail blogger with fantastic photography and original recipes. Maybe that will come but for now, I’m just a girl standing in front of some gin making the best of it. Just like with thrifting, I hope to demystify cocktails a bit. If I can make them, you can make them. No special skills required! Here’s what I’ve been mixing in the last little bit:
My friend Christina back in Canada lived in Houston for years and shared this recipe with me. I think we can call this “The Friend Maker” because it’s a snap to prepare and have on hand for any spontaneous opportunity for a visit with new friends! Or for whenever you have tacos for supper. Or for Sunday afternoons when it’s hot out. Or sunny. Or rainy. You can salt the rim of the glass and add a lime for garnish to be extra impressive. I keep mine in a re-purposed Tropicana juice jug and used a sharpie to mark it as “ADULT” as in “this belongs to Mommy don’t touch it.”
I joined a book club here in Katy called “Eat, Drink and Be Literary” and have taken it upon myself to bring cocktails to the gatherings. They might as well know what I’m about. The last book was Oleander Girl by Houston author Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni so I figured a lassi would be very thematic. I tend to search Pinterest, All Recipes or my favourite bloggers like The Kitchen Magpie, Mr. Kitchen Magpie and Elyse Chatterton for cocktail recipes. This one came from Pinterest and led me to Bon Appetite. Click here for the recipe original and below is how I tweaked it to suit my sitch.
Mango Rum Lassis
Makes 4 (ish, let’s be real)
1¼ cups frozen mango pieces
½ cup gold rum
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
¼ cup honey
2 tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
Pinch of kosher salt
½ teaspoon ancho chile powder, plus more for serving
Mint sprigs (for serving)
Purée mango, rum, lemon juice, honey, yogurt, salt, and ½ tsp. ancho chile powder in your Ninja that you bought for “smoothies”. Fill it up with ice and blend till smooth, adding a bit of
lemon juice or rum if it’s too thick. Divide into glasses, garnish with a mint sprig and a sprinkle of ancho chile powder which I forgot in the photo above. I used less ice than the original recipe called for but I used frozen mango instead of thawed, so I figure it equaled out. In any case, there were no complaints! You could make this without rum, but why.
The predominant liquor store here in Houston is Specs and there is an awesome location not far from my house. They have a huge selection of wine, beer and spirits as well as everything you could want for a cocktail party – charcuterie fixins, napkins, glasses, crackers, chocolate and more. I enjoy just browsing the aisles like a kid in a candy store. That’s how I stumbled upon 1835 Peach Bourbon – I’m sorry to say I don’t know if it’s available in Canada. Since I’m a steel magnolia, I just had to try something so southern-sounding. I knew I had some basil on hand from a dinner recipe and I had some peaches – they were the first fruits I could find on store shelves after the hurricane so I bought a ton! I found this recipe on Pinterest which led me to Girl in the Little Red Kitchen for the recipe which I altered slightly by using peach bourbon rather than plain bourbon. I’m betting it’s better my way.
The Peach Bourbon Basil Smash
Makes 1 so you might as well go generous on the bourbon.
- 1/2 ripe peach, diced
- juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1 ounce simple syrup (heat equal parts sugar and water till sugar dissolves, store in the fridge in a mason jar like a hipster)
- 8-10 basil leaves, plus extra for garnish
- 2 ounces peach bourbon
- crushed ice
- In a short glass, muddle the peach, lemon juice, simple syrup and basil leaves.
- Pour in the peach bourbon, stir and fill the glass to the top with crushed ice.
- Garnish with basil.
My Instagram friends concluded this drink offers both a fruit and vegetable serving, so when you drink it, you’re winning at nutrition.
I could drink this every day of the week if not for the fact that I’m hoarding my Sortilege stash until friends from Canada can bring me some more! I suppose you could make it as the original recipe calls for with regular bourbon and added maple syrup but once you taste Sortilege, it’s hard to compromise. Anyway, I had fresh rosemary left from a dinner recipe and found this recipe on…. you guessed it, Pinterest. The full recipe is on W & P Design and can be found here. Here’s how I tweaked it:
The Rosemary Maple Bourbon Sour
Makes 2 but no one will tell if you drink it all yourself.
- 3 shots Sortilege
- 1 & 1/2 shots fresh lemon juice
- dash of maple syrup
- 1 large sprig of rosemary (plus 2 small sprigs for garnish)
- Crush the large sprig of rosemary in your hand and add it to a shaker.
- Add the Sortilege, lemon juice, maple syrup and ice to above the level of the liquid and shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
- Strain the mixture into ice-filled glasses and garnish with remaining rosemary sprigs and a slice o lemon.
Try not to drink it too fast then quickly prepare a second before anyone notices you finished the first. That’s how it’s done.
Now this one I did kinda make up because I was looking for something different to try with my peach bourbon and had mint and figured I could make a version of the Sortilege Mojito subbing in the bourbon. Many of the peach bourbon recipes I perused involved lemon juice so I decided to use lemon juice in the mojito but keep the rest the same. Here’s how it went:
Makes 1 “short” drink if you ask me, so you might as well make a double then fill one bigger glass. 😀
- 1.5 oz of Peach Bourbon
- 2 oz of club soda
- 12 leaves mint
- 1/4 of a lemon
- 2 tsp brown sugar
Use a muddler to combine the lemon juice, mint and brown sugar in the bottom of a glass.
Fill glass with ice, pour in the bourbon and club soda, give a stir and serve. Garnish with mint and lemon if your little ol’ heart desires.
That’s “it,” that’s what I’ve been drinking lately. I mean, besides wine obvs. My plan is to get some more spirits and then see what I can come up with, maybe practice some classics along with some hipster drinks so I can pretend I’m no older than 39. Where does thrifting fit into all this? Well, though I’m not one to fuss over proper glasses – I am more of a make-do with what you’ve got (er, unless we are talking about shoes, dresses, scarves, etc.) – I usually peruse the glassware at the thrift store. I have successfully thrifted wine glasses, cocktail glasses, a cocktail shaker, platters, etc. It’s worth looking if you want to get more fancy-schmancy with your cocktails and snacks. I see an obvious hole in my bar ware – I need some proper whiskey glasses! Guess this means I’ll *have* to go thrifting!
It’s almost Friday or, in other words, four o’clock is rolling around soon so what should I try next? What are YOUR fave cocktails?