Grownup Gingery Arnold Palmer (V)

As I’ve been waxing on about lately, I’m very into the post-work cocktails this summer. Whether I’m mixing them myself or hitting up my favorite Montclair bars, they make boring weekday nights infinitely more tolerable. I was recently gifted a bottle of sweet tea vodka and ooooh man it is yummy. Upon receiving said bottle, the first thing I did was sniff it: to my surprise it actually smelled like tea. This was exciting. When I see flavored liquor, it pretty immediately calls to mind those horrifying electric-hued bottles claiming to taste “just like pop-tarts/mint chocolate chip ice cream/marshmallow fluff.” I once had to endure a truly horrifying shot of birthday cake-flavored vodka, which, if you know anything about my penchant for desserts, was insulting on so very many levels. While I know this is not always the case with flavored liquors, I’m often wary. So imagine my joy upon taking that first sip and being greeted by a very real tea taste. Let’s also note the joy that comes with getting a present out of nowhere. Presents are f u n. Even more fun when they are alcohol-oriented. Because that means the gift-giver is immediately entitled to a cocktail.

The first drink I made with the vodka was a simple minty/tea (or should I get cute and say “min-tea”) Moscow mule –which I’ve just learned is also known as a Vodka buck (?????)– because I had ginger beer and lime and a plethora of fresh mint. And a mule mug (I’m hoping to build my collection of these and julep cups once I have a kitchen of my own.) I’m a pretty big fan of the Moscow mule. It’s spicy and tart and bubbly. It also calls to mind this gem, which just makes me giggle. So that was a good place to spend the first few ounces of the vodka. But I knew that the next time I used it I wanted to make up my own drink. Since few things feel more summery to me than a tall glass of lemonade or iced tea, I thought a thought I often think: let’s add alcohol to it. And I’m pretty sure I did alright. Thank you, alcohol. You be the judge, mmk?

But before you do, here’s some stuff that’s been occupying my time on the internet lately:

Alison Roman‘s drink diary on Punch Drink

I think I like tomatoes now that I’ve seen this salad on A Brown Table

Cherry pie and “women’s work” on Paste

The blood and sand cocktail (which tastes like neither blood nor sand) gets even better when blended on Serious Eats

Sprouted Kitchen is killing it as per usual with this roasted banana coconut ice cream helllllllo

French fry toppings of the world (and some pretty sweet graphics) on Lucky Peach

Saveur is taking me back to the retro origins of this blog and also reminding me that I could survive on dips for the rest of my life (also happy 21st birthday, Saveur!)

Porridge and a man bun in one glorious post on What Should I Eat For Breakfast Today yes yes all the yes

Let me eat all 13 of these beautiful vegetable things right this minute, thank you Grub Street for putting them in one handy post

OKAY now let’s have a cocktail!

Palmer (serves 1)

1/2-inch piece fresh ginger
1 shot sweet tea vodka
1 shot elderflower liqueur
1/2 shot fresh lemon juice
lemon peel

Muddle ginger in a cocktail shaker. Fill the shaker with a generous amount of ice. Add vodka, elderflower liqueur, and lemon juice. Shake well (20 seconds should do the trick!) Strain into a coupe/martini glass. Rub the lemon peel around the rim of the glass, then float it on top as garnish. Alternatively: muddle the ginger and add the liquids. Stir well and strain into an ice-filled rocks glass, doing the same with the lemon peel as mentioned earlier.



Minty Orange Gimlet (V, GF)

As I walked to class on Monday night, I realized it was getting dark. Dark. At 7:30 at night. So if going to night class wasn’t depressing enough, it was actually getting kind of cold and windy. Not to mention people were rushing around campus looking stressed because they’d likely spent the weekend at the bar instead of the library finishing that paper due at midnight. School worries aside, and being completely honest, I love fall. It’s my favorite season. Sweaters, pumpkins, crunchy leaves, all that good crap. BUT in order to get there I have to endure the waves of sadness that manifest themselves in setting sun shadows of late September. Does it make sense that I love fall with a passion but can’t stand how the earth gets there? Absolutely not. But that’s the way it goes! And with these precious hours of post-7pm daylight dwindling, so is the time for big frosty cocktails leisurely being sipped in the sun. While I’m as big a fan of mulled cider as the next person, I just can’t shake my true fondness for fresh cocktails.

Spoilers, I did make this drink quite a while ago. On a lazy Sunday I peeled an orange listening to the sounds of grass being mowed through the open window. The syrup boiled and I picked mint from the herb planters in my backyard. As I rinsed the leaves off with the garden hose I heard my little next door neighbors attempts to woo passing cars with 25-cent cups of lemonade. I muddled mint and orange and added gin and then I drank that cocktail on my porch in warm July sun. And then I drank two more and then I fell asleep. Sounds just terrible, doesn’t it? And in case you were wondering, orange simple syrup is pretty much how I imagine rays of summer sunlight would taste if you melted them into a glass. Considering the temperature outside is currently 41 degrees, I could really use the reminder of the cocktail hour that once was. I bet you could too.


Gimlet (serves one)

1/2-1 shots orange simple syrup (see recipe below)

1 1/2 shots vodka (or gin)

1/2 shot lime juice

1/4 orange, sliced

mint leaves



Make the orange simple syrup and let it cool completely. In the bottom of a glass, muddle sliced orange and mint. In a cocktail shaker combine syrup, lime juice, vodka and ice. Shake well and pour into the glass with muddled orange and mint and fresh ice.

Orange Simple Syrup (from Bon Appetit)

1/2 c cane sugar

Zest from one orange (removed in large strips with vegetable peeler)

Add zest, sugar, and 1/2 c water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Let cool; cover and chill for at least 2 hours. Strain syrup into a small jar or bowl. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge, tightly covered, for several weeks.





Blood Orange Vodka Soda Plus

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No, that’s not a typo, I’ve decided to call this cocktail the Blood Orange Vodka Soda Plus, wordiness and grammatical correctness be damned! Creating this cocktail was my first experience with Cinzano Bianco, an Italian vermouth. I’m very much a fan! It balances out the sharp citrusy orange juice and its herbs and spices highlight the rose water. This is a perfect summer cocktail, it’s very fresh and not too strong. Not to mention it’s super pretty..

Drink (serves one)

1 shot vodka

1 shot Cinzano Bianco

1/2 shot lemon juice

Splash of rose water

Blood orange juice


Pour liquor, lemon juice, and a splash of rose water into a tall glass with ice. Fill the glass 3/4 of the way full with blood orange juice. Stir. Top off the the glass with seltzer. Garnish with lime.

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ϟ White Lightning Sangria ϟ

There are lots of different ways to make sangria. Red wine, white wine, pink wine; hints of vodka and brandy- someday I’ll try them all! But I was poking around the internet the other day and found a recipe for White Lightning Sangria; the name was too fun to pass up. I made up my own version of the drink for this post! As I’ve mentioned before in terms of punch, pre-mixed cocktails are perfect at parties. You control the quantity and quality of the liquor, your guests still get a buzz, everybody wins! Feel free to change up the fruit according to what you have/prefer. I think fresh berries in this would be amazing!

Sangria (adapted from Food Network.com, makes 6-8 servings depending on cup size)

– 1 bottle chilled white wine (the bottle of Sauvignon Blanc I used was on sale for $5.99 #class)

– 1/2 cup vodka

– 2 oz Grand Marnier

– 1/2 cup white grape juice

– 1/2 cup strawberry compote (or strawberry syrup)

– 1/2 grapefruit, sliced

– the other half of said grapefruit, juiced

– 1 green apple, sliced

– 1 lemon, sliced

– 1 orange, sliced

– seltzer or ginger ale

Pour wine, vodka, and Grand Marnier into a pitcher along with the fruit and juice . Chill for at least an hour, then add seltzer/ginger ale to your liking before serving (or add more wine woooo!). For an extra hit of lighting, sprinkle chopped pieces of crystallized ginger into each glass. Serve over ice if desired. ϟ



Espresso Martini

Well, it’s happened. I finally found it. The best cocktail. One that involves booze, coffee, and coffee-flavored booze. Now, hold onto your heart-rates because I’m gonna tell you how to make it. But maybe just have one, unless you have a burning desire to wake up on in bed at 5 am with the beginnings of three different DIY projects under you, your computer playing Diners Drive Ins and Dives at the highest possible volume and your shoes still on. Not that this happened to me or anything.

Anyway, let’s make a cocktail.

Martini (from kahlua.com)

– 1 1/2 oz. Kahlua

– 1 oz. vodka

– 1 fresh shot espresso (or maybe go for just a shot of plain coffee)

Pull the espresso shot. Add Kahlua and vodka to a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the coffee and shake well. Strain into a martini glass with one or two chocolate covered espresso beans and a twist of lemon.

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Jam Cocktails

I recently found out about jam cocktails, and oh my goodness my life has been changed for the better. I honestly don’t know why I hadn’t thought of this on my own. I’m constantly jazzing up cocktails with muddled fruit and simple syrup; jam is essentially those two ingredients combined! Plus the little pieces of fruit in jam have been cooked, so they’re softer than your standard muddled fruity chunks. Now there’s no chance in awkwardly choking on your drink while someone talks to you about the patriarchy and mistakes your coughing for ignorance at a cocktail party! (Or maybe that’s just my life..aheh). Also, maybe you wouldn’t necessarily think about this, but the little bit of thickness that is the consistency of jam really does add a new level of intensity when mixed into a cocktail. I do believe that jam would be a fantastic addition to any standard drink (gin and tonic, gimlet, martinis even), but I came up with two of my own just to get everyone excited. I want another one just typing this. Also, a really great thing about these is they make equally delicious mocktails. Once you take away the hooch it’s not just soda water or juice. So you’re welcome, world!

Peach Mango Jam Cocktail (makes one modest drink)

– 1 or 2 ounces vodka

– 1 tbsp peach jam (I used this)

– 1/2 cup mango lemonade (they also make a peach lemonade, which would work quite well here too, I just couldn’t find any!)

– pinch of ground ginger

– pinch of ground cloves (my favorite part of this drink. Don’t omit them, you’ll be sorry!)

– orange slices

– crystalized ginger slices

In a cocktail shaker combine vodka, jam, lemonade, and ground ginger with lots of ice. Shake well. Pour into a glass and garnish with orange slices and crystalized ginger. Sprinkle ground cloves on top.



Mixed Berry Pomegranate Jam Cocktail (makes one modest drink)

– 1 or 2 ounces vodka

– 1 tbsp mixed berry preserves (I used this)

– 1/2 cup cranberry pomegranate juice

– splash of lemon lime seltzer

– frozen berries

In a cocktail shaker combine vodka, preserves, and juice with lots of ice. Shake well. Pour into a glass with a splash of seltzer. Garnish with frozen berries (the more you add, the longer your drink will stay cold without getting watery!)



thirty seven

Vegetable Juice Bloody Marys

If you’ve ever met me, odds are I’ve told you about how much I hate tomatoes. I mean, really, they’re squishy and have pulp and seeds and oh my god #srsly I can’t. Just thinking about them right now. Oooof. HOWEVER, I love ketchup. I love tomato sauce. I love tomato soup. I don’t know, man. It’s just weird. Right now you’re probably thinking “But no! Tomatoes are the candy of the earth! The apple of the vegetables-that-are-actually-fruits! There’s nothing better than a freshly sliced tomato on a bagel!” Welllllll I don’t believe you. I’m sorry, I just don’t.

Annnnnnyway, that was an extraordinarily long-winded way of saying that even though I identify as a Tomatohater, this recipe is a drink of tomatoes and it is delicious. I don’t know why. Maybe because it’s like a refreshing tomato soup you don’t have to eat with a spoon and that’s always exciting. Or maybe it’s because of the vodka. G’head, you be the judge.

(Also, in case you’re wondering why I specified that these are vegetable juice bloody marys is that I think it’s just the most flavorful choice. By all means, feel free to use plain jane tomato juice or even bloody mary mix! But I can promise it won’t be as delicious as these)

Bloody Marys (makes one drink)

– Ice

– 1 or 2 ounces Vodka

-Low Sodium Vegetable Juice (I think this one is the best)

– 1 Lemon

– about 1/2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce

– Green olives (I like the big ones with pimentos. None of those fancy Whole Foods olive bar finds. Those should be saved for devouring in front of the fridge with the door still open when no one is looking)

– Salt and pepper

Place a few ice cubes and about half a lemon’s worth of juice into the bottom of your glass. Add the vodka. Fill the glass most of the way full with vegetable juice. Add the worcestershire sauce, then salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with lemon and lime slices and (if you’re me) about 6 olives. Enjoy!




Summer Cocktails

(Un)lucky post number thirteen..cue the suspenseful music! Very exciting. As the fourth of July weekend came to a close I was lucky enough to take a trip up to my friend’s beach house in Fire Island, New York. If you ever get a chance, go! Unless you’re afraid of taking a ferry, in which case, maybe stick to the Jersey Shore. But really, the isle o’fire is great. And what better way to enjoy a weekend at the beach than with festive cocktails? That’s right, there’s no better way! So with my knowledge of Mad Men-y drinks, the help of sleuthing on various retro party websites, and a slightly inordinate amount of maraschino cherries- abracadabra, pretty drinks!

If anyone knows anything about the 50s and 60s, they know there was rarely a day without a nice hard beverage. Party guests enjoyed mint juleps, old fashioneds (this is apparently not a word), gin fizzes, gimlets, and plenty of others, I assure you. This weekend I only had vodka at my fingertips, so feast your eyes on these three yummy drinks.

Cherry Vodka Collins

– 1 shot vodka

– Juice of 1 lemon

– 1 tsp grenadine

– 1 tsp powdered sugar

– Club Soda

Combine first four ingredients, add lots of cracked ice and top with club soda. Stir. Garnish with sliced lemon and a maraschino cherry.

Vodka Tonic

– 1 shot vodka

– 1 tsp lime juice

– Quinine (tonic) water

In a glass, pour vodka over ice. Pour in tonic water and lime juice. Garnish with lime.

Orange Mango Vodka Highball

– 1 shot vodka

– Ginger Ale

– Orange Mango juice

Vodka is poured over ice into a highball glass. Fill 3/4 of the rest of the way with ginger ale, then top off with juice. Garnish with lemon slice.

These will have you feeling summery in no time (and if they don’t, then you probably should add another shot..Enjoy!)