Cocktails: The Pamplemousse

Photo by Food Photographer | Jennifer Pallian on Unsplash

It’s been a minute since I featured a cocktail recipe. I’m still trying new ones, though, so here today is one that I had recently I thought you all should know about.

But back up a second. You’ve heard me talk about our Crappy Dinner Parties, right? This past Sunday, one of our gang suggested having waffles. How fun is that?! So we divvied up the responsibilities while still trying to keep it crappy-adjacent. We had two waffle irons going, and on the side we had homemade whipped cream, berries, bacon, sausage and fruit salad. Nothing fancy (but as a side note: it was the most excited I’ve seen all of our kids get about CDP)

What *was* a little fancy was the cocktail the hosts Catherine and Mark made. I think we should be allowed to have a not-so-crappy Crappy Dinner once or twice a year, don’t you? Mark and Catherine thought it would be fun to have a brunch cocktail to accompany our brunch for dinner and it was delicious! And to think of it, Mark kept it crappy by spilling a bunch on the floor.

Featuring fresh grapefruit and lemon juices, it was the perfect cocktail to accompany our Crappy Brunch Party. Here it is!


1 ounce gin (preferably dry)

1/2 ounce St-Germain elderflower liqueur

1 ounce fresh grapefruit juice

1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice (I sometimes buy it pre-squeezed in bottles at Whole Foods)

1 large basil leaf or a sprig of thyme, for garnish


Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add all of the ingredients except the garnish and shake well. Pour through a fine strainer over an ice sphere or straight up and garnish with the basil leaf or thyme sprig.


Friday Cocktails: The Classic Dirty Martini

dirty martini

There are some things in this life that just make me so happy. An expertly made dirty martini is one of them.

For those who don’t know, a dirty martini is one in which olive brine has been added. It gives it a salty flavor that can’t be beat. My husband hates olives. which I find so hard to understand. He likes capers, so I feel like eventually, like maybe when he’s 50, he might suddenly realize he actually likes olives too? This is psychological thing that probably isn’t worth pursuing.

Some people shake their martinis, some stir them. Some (like me) order them “extra dirty” which means lots of olive brine. You can make them with gin or vodka (I prefer Tito’s vodka). At any rate, I don’t think I’ve met a dirty martini I didn’t like. They are very simple to make, but quite elegant. If you want to knock the socks off of someone, make them a martini. They will marvel at your sophistication.

Another thing about a simple martini is that it’s free of added sugars. A lot of cocktails have simple syrup or liqueurs which are so tasty and I love them, but they have lots of sugar. If you are trying to cut back on your sugar consumption (which, frankly, is a good idea for just about everyone), then a martini is a really good bet. If you hate olives, you can also just order a vodka or gin martini “with a twist” which means it comes with a twist of lemon rather than olives. You can also order them with onions! It’s like a snack in a glass.

Here’s your basic recipe. It’s already perfection so I don’t recommend messing with it.



  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces vodka (I like Tito’s) or gin (I like Prairie Organic)
  • 2 teaspoons olive brine (4 to 5 teaspoons for extra dirty)
  • Splash of dry vermouth
  • Green olives (you can use blue cheese olives if you’d like)


Add vermouth to cocktail shaker first. Swirl to coat the inside. Fill the shaker with ice. Add vodka and olive brine; shake. Strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with lots of olives. ENJOY!

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Friday Cocktails: The Great Gatsby

Friday Cocktails! The Hot-As-Heck Margarita




Friday Night Cocktails: The Watermelon Mint Agua Fresca

agua fresca

Just in time for Cinco de Mayo, it’s a new cocktail recipe! But first, if I asked you what the significance of Cinco de Mayo was, would you be able to answer? If you said “Mexican Independence Day” you’d be…not right. Mexican independence is actually celebrated Sept.16. Instead, Cinco de Mayo commemorates the Mexican army’s unlikely victory over the French forces of Napoleon III on May 5, 1862, at the Battle of Puebla. It has really become more of an American holiday excuse to drink margaritas.

Today I would like to introduce you to the Agua Fresca, which is a traditional Mexican drink that when translated means “fresh water”. Aguas Frescas are designed to beat the heat of summer and are refreshing and delicious. They are typically made of fresh fruit, water, and optional sugar. If you want to know more about aguas frescas, click here.

This delicious recipe would be perfect for a BBQ, and I guarantee the kids would love it. To make it “adult”, add a shot of vodka or gin to each serving.

Not for nothing, but watermelon is full of lycopene (actually it has the most lycopene per serving than any fruit or veggie) which is a powerful antioxidant. The lime juice has a good deal of vitamin c and mint is great for soothing the digestive system, which is perfect if you’ve overindulged at the BBQ. If you add just a bit of sugar it makes for a yummy treat that doesn’t include artificial colors, flavors or other additives.

This recipe, adapted from Epicurious, serves about 6.


1/4 cup packed fresh mint leaves

1/4 cup sugar

5 cups peeled, seeded, coarsely chopped watermelon (from about a 2 1/2-pound watermelon). Make it easy on yourself and buy pre-chopped watermelon if you desire.

1/4 cup fresh lime juice. I( also like prepared lime juice such as this one. I do this about 50% of the time)

Mint sprigs for serving


Combine mint leaves, sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a small pot. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar has dissolved. Transfer mixture to a heatproof container and chill, uncovered, until cool, about 30 minutes.

Strain mint syrup into a blender; discard mint leaves. Add watermelon and lime juice and blend until very smooth. Using a fine-mesh sieve, strain into a pitcher; discard solids. Add 2 cups water and stir well to combine. Serve with mint sprigs. If bubbles are desired, top off with a splash of soda water.

Aqua fresca can be stored in an airtight container and chilled for up to 1 day.



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Weekend Cocktails: The Ginger Margarita

Weekend Cocktails: Watermelon Frosé


Photo credit: Pixabay


Weekend Cocktails: The Ginger Margarita


I have done a pretty mediocre to poor job of posting actual health and wellness information recently, thanks to a busy summer and back to school madness. That’s ok, though. Hopefully the joy of trying new cocktails will blur this failure until I can get back on track.

Yesterday I was chatting with a fellow cocktail-lover who happens to be one of my favorite golf and paddle partners (Hi Ellen!) and I asked her what her favorite cocktail ingredients were. She answered “tequila and ginger”. Wow! What a fun combination. Tequila, with its smooth taste, and ginger with its spiciness.  I guarantee you she isn’t messing around with subpar tequila, either. Only 100% agave tequila is the way to go for exceptional cocktails.

I couldn’t really remember a time I ever had a cocktail that included tequila and ginger. So, I told Ellen I would do some research and come up with a cocktail that she might like. In searching I found the Ginger Margarita, served up, which seems perfect. Just the other day I introduced Ellen to my favorite cocktail in the history of cocktails, the Aviation. I love it because it’s bright and smooth and slightly sweet, and because it’s served up (I sometimes get frustrated with rocks cocktails because I like to sip my drinks, and the ice tends to dilute the flavors too quickly for me). Ellen really enjoyed it which doesn’t surprise me because she has excellent taste.

The good news is that ginger is highly anti-inflammatory as well as excellent for the digestive system. And tequila has been thought to be better than other liquor for you because it’s lower in simple sugars. As always, moderation with alcohol is the key, regardless of what you are drinking!

So Ellen, this Ginger Margarita is for you. I think the baker in you will really enjoy making your own ginger simple syrup. Cheers!

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Healthy Breakfast Recipe: Smoked Salmon Egg Bake

NEW RECIPE! Grilled Salmon with Grilled Lemon Vinaigrette

Weekend Cocktails: SPECIAL HOLIDAY EDITION– The Cranberry Gin Fizz


“But it’s not the weekend!” you say. Yes, yes, I know. But this special recipe needs several days to come together in your fridge, and I want you to be able to enjoy it on Christmas Eve/Christmas Day or Hanukkah.

I can’t wait to serve the Cranberry Gin Fizz to my guests. If you hurry, you can still make this in time for Christmas Eve/the first day of Hanukkah (if you cut a day off of the “marinating” time), and it’s perfect timing for Christmas Day. It takes less than 10 minutes to pull together. It’s full of plump cranberries, lime zest, and a bit of sugar. Topped off with tonic water, I’m thinking it’s going to be delicious.

I am also making a non alcoholic version using the leftover pomegranate juice blend I bought to make the Mimi Zinger (known to the rest of the world as the Pomegranate Moscow Mule). Just top off with some club soda and it’s sure to be delicious and festive for the non-drinker or underage person in your life.

Serve with a sprig of bright green mint or rosemary.

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy Hanukkah!

Click Cranberry Gin Fizz to take you to the recipe link.

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Weekend Cocktails –Blueberry Balsamic Liqueur 

Friday Night Cocktails! Tonight: The Moscow Mule

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Cocktails! Prickly Pear Margaritas

We just returned from our spring break vacation in Arizona.  I grew up there and I relished the idea of showing my 11 year old all the things I loved about such a beautiful state. Like this sunset:


And this mountain vista: 

And this blooming cactus:

And this sunrise:

And the Grand Canyon:

Are you kidding me?  Where else do you see things like this?  We had the best time traveling from the valley to the Grand Canyon and back again.  We were there eight days and could have been there for weeks and weeks.  But we hit some of the best parts and most important of all, my daughter came back appreciating the same things I do about Arizona.  Like the food (oh my gosh the Mexican food).  And the stunning desert landscapes.  And the way the pine trees up north smell like vanilla.

One thing I brought back from Arizona that my daughter didn’t was a love for Prickly Pear Margaritas (yes it’s in caps. They are that good).  I mean, she’s 11.  Funny story: our first night in Arizona my husband ordered a prickly pear margarita. It came out hot pink.  He was secure enough in his masculinity to enjoy every sip.  Anyway, I procured a bottle of prickly pear syrup so that I could recreate these sensational margaritas (and any other cocktail I deem fit) anytime I wanted.

I think it’s my duty to inform you that in Mexico prickly pear is used widely as an anti-hangover remedy.  It’s also high in vitamin C and is full of anti-inflammatory compounds. A very tiny study seems to show that it might also help lower your LDL (the bad) cholesterol levels. Do with that what you will (I write a wellness blog after all, I think you should know these things).  As always, don’t take my word for it.  Talk to your doctor about this stuff.

Anyway, I think this will be the drink of the summer.



3 ounces tequila of your choice
1/2 ounce Cointreau
2 ounces lime juice (Or more to taste. I squeezed another wedge of lime in my glass)
2 ounces prickly pear syrup (I like Cheri’s Harvest because it’s all natural and doesn’t use preservatives or artificial colors or flavors)
Margarita salt for garnishing the glass


Combine the tequila, Cointreau, lime juice and prickly pear syrup in a cocktail shaker. Shake well. Use a wedge of lime to wet the rim of a margarita glass and dip into the margarita salt that you’ve poured onto a plate. Pour margarita into glass over ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Keep an eye out for more prickly pear syrup recipes, because YUM!


Super Bowl Cocktails! Spicy Michelada


Nothing says “Super Bowl” like beer, am I right?  I like a good beer. But I’m also a lover of fun cocktails and I really enjoy trying new recipes.  Enter the Michelada.  It’s a sort of like a Bloody Mary made with beer instead of vodka.  For sure it’s an acquired taste.  But we are all adults still figuring stuff out are and willing to try new things, right?

I love spicy cocktails — jalapeños floating in my drinks make me happy.  So I am sharing a recipe for a Spicy Michelada.

The fun thing about this is drinking it at night instead of at brunch, like with a Bloody Mary.  If you think this is crazy, you wouldn’t believe the other things I do to keep my life on the edge.

1/4 cup kosher salt or margarita salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
2 limes, juiced (plus extra lime wedges to garnish)
2 cups light Mexican beer
2 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons hot sauce (Tabasco is a good choice)
1 teaspoon low sodium soy sauce
1/2 jalapeno, seeded and diced (optional)
Black pepper

1. After you’ve squeezed your limes for juice, use them to wet the rims of your glasses
2. Place salt, paprika and cayenne (if using) into a small bowl and whisk the ingredients together.  Pour onto a plate and rim glasses with salt mixture. Fill your glasses with ice.
3. Fill a large cocktail shaker or small pitcher partially with ice followed by the remaining ingredients, except for the jalapeno. Shake or stir until mixed. Divide mixture among the two prepared glasses and finish with lime wedges, black pepper and jalpaenos (if using). Serve.

I know what I’ll be trying this Sunday!


Weekend Cocktails! Brandy Old Fashioned

brandy old fashioned

Tonight is the night we trim the tree.  It’s been sitting bare in the living room waiting for us to have enough time to decorate it.  It’s been a really busy week with work travel and school work (mine and the kid’s) and all the normal stuff a family deals with.  Poor tree has been just sitting there since Sunday waiting patiently.  So tonight we are ordering in some Thai and Vietnamese food (my kitchen is always closed on Fridays.  I don’t think I’ve made dinner on a Friday night for years).  We’ll eat our pho and spring rolls and curry and pad ze-ew and then we’ll get down to business.

I love a good winter cocktail, something fun and festive.  So I think tonight calls for something more than just a glass of wine, at least to start.  This is where the apple brandy comes in.  I have a bottle that I bought for a yummy cider punch I made last year.  So this recipe seems like the perfect choice for tonight.

I love an old fashioned, and I love apple brandy and so what’s not to love about this cocktail?  Bonus, did you know bitters are really good for digestion?  If you’re having some issues after a meal, have a teaspoon of bitters and it should help.




  • 1/4 oz simple syrup OR 1 sugar cube
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1 1/2 oz apple brandy (such as Clear Creek)
  • lemon twist


  1. If using sugar, place the sugar cube in the bottom of the glass and add the 2 dashes of bitters. Muddle well to blend the sugar and bitters, then add a few drops of water and stir to dissolve the sugar.
  2. If using simple syrup, add the syrup and bitters to the glass.
  3. Place a large chunk of ice into the glass filled with sugar and bitters and add the apple brandy. Stir well to incorporate the sugar and brandy.
  4. Twist the lemon peel over the top, drop it into the glass and serve.