Gourmet Veggie Mama

Tag Archives: Cocktails

The Jasmine

Campari, to me at least, is a warm-weather spirit. I’m so glad, now that temperatures are climbing, and it finally feels like spring outside, that I get to experiment with it some more.

I know it sounds weird, but what first drew me to the Jasmine was that I read an article in which it was described as tasting just like grapefruit juice… yet it contains not a drop of actual grapefruit juice. I was intrigued, so I had to see for myself how these flavors played off each other.

the jasmine

As it turns out, the Jasmine does taste a lot like grapefruit juice — only better. Plus it’ll give you a nice spring buzz. Cheers!

5.0 from 1 reviews

The Jasmine
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 3 oz gin
  • ½ oz Campari
  • ½ oz Grand Marnier (or Cointreau)
  • juice of 1 lemon (about 1½ oz)
  • lemon twists for garnish
  1. Combine the gin, Campari, Grand Marnier and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well and strain into two cocktail glasses. Garnish with a lemon twist, if desired.


Sailor’s Ale

I bought a bottle of Flor de Caña gold rum right before I got pregnant with Amelia, around this time last year. I was really looking forward to experimenting with some rum cocktails… and then I was sidelined. So, imagine my surprise when I pulled the bottle out of the back of the bar… and it was mostly empty.

Sigh. The hubby hadn’t realized it was anything special, and thus had been using it to spike his limeade when he went to the pool last summer. A lot.

But, onward and upward!


A toast to Sailor’s Ale — originally a concoction of rum, ginger syrup, lime and dark beer. However, I didn’t quite feel like making ginger syrup, and I happened to have ginger beer on hand (everyone in our neighborhood is currently obsessed with the Moscow Mule), so I made it more like a slightly tricked-up version of a Dark and Stormy — just heavier on the lime.

sailor's ale

It was delicious, refreshing and perfect for this weird patchwork of winter and spring we’re currently experiencing. Drink up!

Sailor’s Ale
Recipe type: cocktail
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4
  • 3 oz gold rum
  • juice of 2 limes
  • ginger beer (1 can)
  1. Combine the rum and lime juice in a shaker filled with ice. Shake well and strain into 4 rocks glasses (each will be about half full).
  2. Top each glass with about an ounce of ginger beer. Stir gently. Garnish with a lime slice, if desired.


Snow Falling on Agave

My mom gave me the most thoughtful Christmas present this year: A book of “literary-inspired” cocktails called Tequila Mockingbird (ha!), a bottle of Z Tequila to mix with, and (just for kicks) a gift card to Barnes & Noble. What a way to combine a couple of my greatest pleasures! While I look forward to trying out a few of the recipes from the book, none of the tequila-based drinks grabbed me, so I decided to break open the new bottle to try out a great drink from one of my favorite wine bloggers, SAHMmelier — the charmingly named Snow Falling on Agave (actually a Prado in disguise).

snow falling on agave

The combination of tequila and maraschino liqueur is not one I would have thought to try, but it was lovely. This drink is herbal-tasting and smooth — the tequila doesn’t back much of a punch at all. The “snow” is the foamy white layer on top of the drink formed by the egg white when shaken with the drink. Cheers!

Snow Falling on Agave
Recipe type: cocktail
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2
  • 3 oz tequila
  • 1½ oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 oz maraschino liqueur
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake vigorously until cold and strain into two cocktail glasses.


Margaritas, Anyone?

It’s that time of year again — August, aka too-hot-to-do-anything month. So why not have a margarita to cool down and chill out?

Fresh fruit margaritas -- Learn.Act.Live.Love

Head on over to LiveMom and check out my latest article on margaritas to beat the heat. With lots to choose from — from the traditional to the out-there (avocado, anyone?) — there’s bound to be something your style. Cheers!

Campari Cocktails

Note: This is one of a series of guest posts I’ll be hosting over the next few weeks to spice up Cocktail Thursday. Today’s guest is Christl Denecke, who is a good friend of mine from back in Northern California (who heralds back to my lawyer days). Although she’s not a food blogger, we happen to share a great love for cocktails, so I feel very confident in sharing a couple of her recipes with you. And, if you are in Northern California, please look her up — she has her own estate planning practice (Denecke Planning), and she helped the hubby and I with our wills a couple of years ago. I highly recommend her — not just because she’s a friend, but because she’s a damn good lawyer. Photo credit goes to Steven Ginzburg, Christl’s intrepid assistant (and husband).

Since August is now upon us, I thought I might make some refreshing cocktails to help us get through these steamy evenings.  And the perfect summer cooler is Campari.  This carmine-colored, Italian aperitif has a bitter-orange flavor — a cooling counterpoint to sweeter mixers.

My favorite hot weather drink is Campari and tonic, the exotic cousin of that old standby, the gin and tonic.  Like the bitter-juniper taste of gin, the bitter-orange flavor of Campari provides an excellent counterpoint to the sweet effervescence of tonic water.  It pairs well with a hammock and a good book.

Campari and Tonic

For something a little more elegant, try an Americano – not the caffeinated beverage that perks up many a Monday morning, but an invigorating cocktail with sweet vermouth tempering Campari’s bite.  Add a squeeze of lemon and some sparkling water to create a smooth quaff with a hint of fruit.



Campari and Tonic
  • 1 part Campari
  • 3 parts tonic water
  1. Build over ice in a juice glass.
The Americano
  • 1 oz Campari
  • 1½ oz sweet vermouth
  • sparkling water
  1. Build over ice in a highball glass and finish with a squeeze of lemon.

Basil Ginger Cocktails

Note: This is one of a series of guest posts I’ll be hosting over the next few weeks to spice up Cocktail Thursday. Today’s guest is Priscilla Carruthers, AKA The Icebox Queen, who is a personal chef in Austin, Texas who specializes in healthy comfort food. She also writes an inspiring blog of the same name, which draws from her experiences as a chef as well as the local Austin food and wine scene and her “nomadic existence” all over Texas before settling in the capital city. I’m excited to test-drive a virgin spin on the delicious cocktail Priscilla has to offer us… and someday soon, the real thing. Those of us with basil overtaking our gardens this time of year can definitely appreciate this one!

I have the blackest of thumbs. Plants look at me and wilt. Nurseries close the blinds and turn out the lights when I pull into the parking lot. My dogs look at me with disdain when I try again, year after year, season after season, to grow another pot of herbs or a window garden with flowers. Even they can see the foreshadowing of my failure. People gift me with “easy to grow” plants, promising that, “No one can kill mint!,” and warning me to plant it in a pot to fight the spread. They shake their heads when they return to my house, realizing that plants taking over my garden would certainly beat the bare dirt and burnt up oregano that lives there now.

That is, until this time. This time, my mother didn’t just tell me what to do to have a garden, or send me home with a few plants. This time, she came with me to the nursery, and better yet, she came home with me and helped me plant them. And thanks to her, they live. They not only live, they thrive. Thanks to her fairy dusted green thumbs, I have more basil than I know what to do with. It’s starting to flower out there! I didn’t even know basil had flowers.

So this Basil Ginger Cocktail is dedicated to my mother’s verdant thumbs.

Basil Ginger Cocktails

If you don’t have as lush a garden as I do, (she giggles), store-bought basil works just as well, and it only takes a little. If you’d like this to be an adult beverage, I’d highly recommend Dripping Springs Vodka, or Tito’s; otherwise more club soda in place of the vodka would taste just as fine on a hot Austin day.

Basil Ginger Cocktail
Serves: 1
Ginger Syrup:
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup water
  • 2-inch piece of ginger, peeled and diced
  • 2 or 3 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 Tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 1 Tbsp ginger syrup, or to taste
  • 1 oz vodka
  • club soda
  • ice
  • 1 lime wedge
For ginger syrup:
  1. Bring water and sugar to a boil together in a small saucepan. Reduce heat and stir until sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add ginger, remove from heat, and let steep for at least 20 minutes.
  3. Once the syrup has the ginger strength you’d like, strain into a small jar or pitcher.
For the drink:
  1. In the bottle of a highball glass, muddle the basil with a splash of the lime juice and ginger syrup. (If you don’t have a dedicated muddler, try the other end of a wooden spoon.)
  2. Add the ice, vodka, lime, and syrup. Fill the rest of the glass with club soda.
  3. Give it a swirl and garnish with a lime wedge. Enjoy, and bask in a hot Texas summer with fresh herbs.



Summer Thyme Honey Lemonade

Note: This is one of a series of guest posts I’ll be hosting over the next few weeks to spice up Cocktail Thursday. Today’s guest is Alicia, who writes the blog Boozed + Infused, where she shares recipes for making liqueur and infused spirits at home with inspiring and seasonal ingredients. I thought the process sounded a little intimidating at first, but Alicia’s posts finally inspired me to try a few infusions of my own, and it’s so easy! The results are customizable and always tasty, and, what’s better, you save a lot of money infusing your own liqueurs instead of buying them. Visit her site for tons of inspiration, and check out this delicious recipe for thyme honey lemonade (without or without booze) for a refreshing summer treat.

It is officially summer! And summer means lots of fresh treats in the garden. I have been busy picking berries, canning and jamming to my heart’s content. Meanwhile, our booze pantry is filled to the brim with infused delights. I just love picking fresh herbs and berries from the garden to add to summer beverages.


For Gourmet Veggie Mama readers, I wanted to bring you a quick infusion that is nice for a summer gathering or barbeque. Everyone loves lemonade, right? Well I do, and it is always fun to muddle fruits and herbs into lemonade to make it more festive. Today we are enjoying a Summer Thyme Honey Lemonade.

We start off by making a Thyme-Honey Syrup for our quick infusion.

Thyme-Honey Syrup
  • ¼ cup loosely packed thyme leaves
  • ⅔ cup honey
  • ⅔ cup water
  1. Place all ingredients in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil on medium heat, stirring constantly. Be careful not to boil over.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely with the thyme steeping in the syrup.
  3. Once it has cooled, strain the thyme leaves out of the syrup.

honey thyme syrup

This infused honey goes very well in salad dressings. But we’re not here for Salad Thursday, we are here for Cocktail Thursday… so now for the cocktail.

Summer Thyme Honey Lemonade
Recipe type: cocktail
  • 2 cups ice (plus additional for serving)
  • 8 oz fresh squeezed lemon juice (plus extra lemon wedges for garnish)
  • 8 oz thyme-honey syrup
  • 12 oz club soda
  • White rum (or other light spirit)
  • Fresh thyme (for garnish)
  1. Place the ice in a pitcher or carafe, and add the lemon juice and thyme-honey syrup. Stir well to incorporate. Add the club soda and stir again.
  2. For each serving, fill glass a third to half way with ice, pour 4 ounces of lemonade and add 2 ounces of rum. Garnish with lemon wedge and thyme.

We used a silver rum from Eastside Distilling in Portland (one of our favorite local distilleries). And for those of us (perhaps our fair blogging host) who are not consuming alcohol, this is delicious without the rum. It would also be fabulous with gin.

Summer Thyme Honey Lemonade



Minty Drink Roundup

Note: This is one of a series of guest posts I’ll be hosting over the next few weeks to spice up Cocktail Thursday. Today’s guest poster hails from one of my favorite cocktail blogs — Rufus’ Guide to Food & Spirits. When they offered to do a round-up of minty summer cocktails, I jumped at the chance — just look at these delicious sippers! For so many of us in hot climes, mint grows like weeds in the summertime, so it’s all we can do to keep up. I can’t think of a better way to use it all!

We live in the South, and our mint plants produce almost year round. Come summertime, they would take over the yard if we didn’t keep them in pots. Considering the state of our yard, we might free them from their clay confines one of these days.

We throw mint in tea, garnish soup with it, make loads of tabbouleh when the tomatoes are in, throw it in with sauteed vegetables… you name it. We also drink it in a variety of cocktails and nonalcoholic beverages. We always say nothing punches up a summer punch at the family reunion like some moonshine. Okay, well mint is a close second on that front. Here are some of our favorite minty fresh drinks. Click on the links for recipes!

Lemonade with Mint and Honey

lemonade with mint and honey

Peach Daiquiris with Mint

peach daiquiris with mint

Minty Fresh Limeade

minty fresh limeade

Blackberry Mint Juleps

blackberry mint juleps

Cucumber Shooters

cucumber shooters


Cool Off with White Sangria

Note: This is one of a series of guest posts I’ll be hosting over the next few weeks to spice up Cocktail Thursday. Today’s guest is Lee Stokes Hilton of Spoon and Ink, who is a fellow AFBAer and a former Wall Streeter-turned-writer and kitchen goddess. As a recovering lawyer, I immediately knew I had found a kindred spirit! Read on for an amazing sangria recipe, and be sure to check out her blog too — not only does she share delicious, entertaining-friendly recipes, but she also sprinkles in some personal wisdom here and there.

In the heat of the summer, nothing is quite so refreshing as sangria. But as much as I enjoy the traditional stuff, it can sometimes feel a little heavy for daytime drinking. (We all enjoy a little daytime drinking, don’t we?) So this recipe for white sangria is the perfect solution: cool, crisp, and light.

White Sangria

I love serving this to a brunch or a ladies’ lunch. It adds just the right touch of sophistication. And we recently served up gallons of it at a neighborhood cocktail party, where it was a huge hit. If you’re serving a large crowd, it’s sometimes easier to make batches of the wine and fruit – which you can do a day ahead – then add ¼ cup (2 ounces) of sparkling water directly to each glass. That way, the carbonation doesn’t disappear before you serve it.

As for the wine to use, I prefer either a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio, both of which have nice fruity notes that go well with the pears, kiwis, and grapes.

White Sangria
Serves: 6
  • 1 bottle dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp superfine sugar
  • 2 Tbsp Calvados
  • 3 Tbsp Cointreau or other orange-based liqueur (Triple Sec, Grand Marnier or my new favorite, Paula’s Texas Orange Liqueur)
  • 2 kiwis, peeled and sliced thin
  • 1 large pear, preferably green D’Anjou or Bartlett, sliced thin
  • 1 cup seedless green grapes, halved
  • 12 oz sparkling water (not club soda)
  • sprigs of mint for garnish
  1. In a large glass pitcher, combine the wine, sugar, Calvados and Cointreau. Stir until the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the fruit, and allow to macerate in the refrigerator (covered) 4-5 hours or overnight.
  3. To serve, stir well, then add the sparkling water and pour over ice in either a tall highball or Collins glass or a globe wine glass. Garnish with a sprig of mint.

Mood Enhancer

Note: This is one of a series of guest posts I’ll be hosting over the next few weeks to spice up Cocktail Thursday. Today’s guest is a friend of mine, as well as a fellow mama and lover of spirits. (Do those two go hand in hand? Maybe. Or perhaps it is purely coincidental.) She may be a lover of wine first, but this lady knows her way around a bottle of gin, too, so I was excited when she agreed to do a guest post for me. Please welcome Alissa Leenher of SAHMmelier, and read on for a summer gin cooler perfect for sipping on the porch. Check out her site, too — it is one of my favorite reads, with everything from wine reviews to musings on motherhood. Cheers!

After the nicest spring that I can remember in my 18 years in Austin, summer is here. We actually made it to June without hitting the century mark (which is a little surprising), but now it’s time to lighten the wardrobe — and the cocktails.

One of my favorite summer sippers is as easy as throwing on your favorite sundress. Made with a locally distilled spirit and Elderflower liqueur, this cocktail is the perfect antidote to the Texas heat.

Mood Enhancer - photo by Alissa Leenher

I originally fell for this gin from Bone Spirits in Smithville, Texas when making the grapefruit martini Lauren shared a few months ago. I think we are on our third bottle since I discovered it. It’s clean, herbaceous, with notes of citrus and juniper. I love it, and I love supporting local distilleries.

Mood Enhancer - photo by Alissa Leenher

5.0 from 1 reviews

Mood Enhancer
Serves: 1-2
  • 2 oz Moody June Dry Gin
  • 1 oz Thatcher’s Elderflower Liqueur (or St. Germaine)
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 3-5 thyme sprigs
  • Seltzer Water
  1. Combine gin, liqueur, 3 sprigs of thyme, and lemon juice with ice in a shaker.
  2. Shake well and pour over ice. Top off with seltzer to taste.
  3. Garnish with lemon slice and thyme sprig.


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