Cocktail: Mango Colada

This elongated winter weather has me dreaming of warmer days and tropical drinks. A classic piΓ±a colada is definitely a "vacation splurge" cocktail for me. It's not really something I make at home or order in a city bar. It's saved for those vacation moments when you're ordering from a pool boy or drinking for a coconut with your feet buried in the sand.

So today we are breaking out the rum and limes and throwing together a quick and easy cocktail that will have you dreaming of palm trees and rolling waves. Here we go...

Mango Colada

Makes 2 drinks

1/2 cup white rum
1/2 cup canned coconut milk, stirred if separated
3/4 cup frozen mango
juice of 1 lime
1/2 cup ice
splash of mango, pineapple, or (in a pinch) orange juice
pineapple or lime slice (optional)

In a blender, add the first 6 ingredients and pulse until cocktail is smooth with no large pieces of ice or mango. Pour into a cocktail glass and garnish with pineapple or lime slice and a colorful straw. Cheers!

Cocktail: Elderflower & Pomegranate Spritzer

It's Valentine's Day week y'all! For me, it's another excuse to eat all the sweets, tell my friends how much they mean to me, mail a bunch of valentines, and cook an indulgent meal at home with G. 

This cocktail is a simple & sweet drink you can easily throw together at home for a pre-dinner treat or for brunch. I try a decent amount of cocktails at home and while I'm out and about, but I'm always drawn to elderflower + gin combinations. Add a few bubbles and count me in. Let's get shaking!

Happy V-day, my loves!

Elderflower & Pomegranate Spritzer

Makes 1 cocktail

3 oz pomegranate juice
2 oz floral gin, such as Hendrick's
1 oz elderflower liqueur
champagne 

This is a easy one. Fill a high ball glass with ice. In a cocktail shaker, shake pomegranate juice, elderflower liqueur and gin and stir over ice. Strain into glass. Top with champagne and pomegranate seeds. Cheers!

Cocktail: Bubbly Jack Rose

I'm spending the last couple of days of 2017 trying to balance relaxing and being productive. Having slow morning and getting brunch. Movies dates, playing video games and taking long baths. Cleaning around the house and getting the Christmas stuff put away. Working on recipes and blog posts. I'm hoping this is the creative refresh that I've been needing lately and I'm hoping to kick off 2018 with calmness and positive energy. The dream.

We also need to kick off the new year with a little bubbly because we just have to. Here's my take on a classic Jack Rose (which is Applejack, citrus juice, and grenadine) but we're switching in pomegranate juice for a winter twist and adding champagne for a little bit of bubbles. 

Bubbly Jack Rose

Makes one drink

1 oz Applejack
2 oz pomegranate juice
juice from a lime quarter
top with champagne
pomegranate seeds, lime wheel & lemon wheel (optional)

Add pomegranate juice, Applejack, and lime juice to a cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a coupe glass and top with champagne. Garnish with pomegranate seeds, lime wheel and lemon wheel.

Cocktail: Mulled Wine

Here we are at December 1st. The last month of 2017.

It's probably cliche to say that December is a favorite month, but I'm saying it anyway. Tomorrow G and I will be picking out a Christmas tree and putting up decorations. I'll likely watch A Muppet Christmas Carol 10 times between now and the 25th. They'll be cookies to bake, shopping to do, and parties to get dressed up for. Throw in that Philadelphia does Christmas pretty well and I'm pretty excited for a busy month. 

 And those aforementioned parties? We'll need booze for those. And Christmastime is the perfect time for Mulled Wine to shine. Throw everything in a pot and let it hang out while your house is filled with the aroma of cinnamon and sweetness. Great for parties, or just a chilly Thursday night. 

Mulled Wine

Yields 4-6 drinks

750mL Merlot
2 cup pomegranate juice
2 cup apple cider
juice from half an orange
2 cinnamon sticks
3 star anise
2 slices of orange
10-12 whole cloves

In a large saucepan, pour in wine, juice, apple cider, and orange juice. Add in cinnamon sticks and star anise. Push whole cloves through the slices of orange and add them into the pot. Bring mixture to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes. Serve warm with cinnamon stick, orange slices, and/or pomegranate seeds as garnish.

This recipe can also be made in a crockpot: Throw everything in and let sit on low for an hour. After that hour, turn to a keep warm setting and remove the star anise from the crockpot so not to overpower the flavor. Cheers!

Cocktail: Spiked Apple Cider for a Crowd

Spiked Apple Cider for a Crowd via Unusually Lovely

Something that's quickly becoming my favorite holiday tradition is hosting a pumpkin carving party for a handful of friends. Everyone brings a pumpkin, and we provide carving tools, stencils, snacks and some booze.

As someone who doesn't like bourbon, I've actually never had this cocktail. But I've made it a few times and this year I even received a few request to make it again. So I thought I would share the recipe here. This is an incredibly easy cocktail that serves a crowd, doesn't break the bank, and people can serve themselves. 

Spiked Apple Cider for a Crowd from Unusuallylovely.com

Spiked Apple Cider for a Crowd

Makes enough for 10-15 people

1 gallon apple cider
1 750mL bourbon
2 slices of orange
1 cinnamon stick
handful of whole cloves

In a large pot, add apple cider and cinnamon stick. Stick 4-5 whole cloves into each slices of orange and add to the pot. Simmer for 1 hour and then let cool completely.

In a large beverage dispenser or a punch bowl, add cider and bourbon and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Remove cinnamon stick and oranges and replace with fresh orange slices (optional). Encourage guests to pour their own drink, with or without ice, and garnish with cinnamon stick, orange slice, or apple slice. Cheers!

Apple Cider Spiked with Bourbon via UnusuallyLovely.com