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Piña Colada

Piña Colada

Oh, the Piña Colada – the original beach drink. I know it isn’t possible to spend the entire summer drinking Piña Coladas on the beach, but it’s okay to dream, right? The way I figure it, if you make the Piña Colada, you can sit outside in the sun, close your eyes and imagine the ocean is right there.

Piña Coladas were originally made in pineapples. So if you want to go old school, get a pineapple, core it, and use that as your cup.

The beauty of the Piña Colada is the combination of the coconut and pineapple flavors. The recipe calls for regular rum, but I would recommend using coconut rum. Now, Malibu Coconut Rum is a good, solid coconut rum that will make a great drink, but my personal favorite is RumHaven coconut rum, made with real coconut water.

Add pineapple juice, cream of coconut, ice and your rum of choice to a blender. Blend until smooth and creamy. Serve in either a pineapple, or a regular cocktail glass. Garnish with cherries or pineapples.

If you really want to bring on the beach – add a Hawaiian umbrella to the top. Close your eyes, feel the breeze and take a sip. You might find, you don’t need to drive all the way to the ocean to enjoy a trip to “the beach.”

*If you want to make the kiddos a Piña Colada just skip the rum! Or skip the rum and substitute the ice and coconut cream with coconut ice cream – that would make an excellent Piña Colada mocktail for your little ones.

 

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cup pineapple juice

1/2 cup cream of coconut not coconut milk

1/2 cup rum

3 cups ice

pineapple chunks for garnish, optionalcherries for garnish, optional

 

Directions:

Add ice to a blender. Add pineapple juice, cream of coconut and rum. Blend until smooth and creamy. Pour into glasses, garnish with pineapple chunks and cherries. Serve.

 

Watermelon Vodka Cocktail

Watermelon Vodka Cocktail

I love watermelon and I eat it year round, but I go a little watermelon crazy every summer. I pretty much want to eat watermelon all day, every day and I never get tired of it!

In honor of my love for the juicy, delicious, amazing melon that seems to appear at all summer get-togethers – I had to try a Watermelon Cocktail.

Even though this recipe requires a blender (which means extra dishes), it’s super easy. This recipe is designed to be shared with friends, but when I made it, I was flying solo, so I just did a little beer math and made a single serving. 1 Cup of watermelon, a little more than 1 cup of coconut water, a 1/2tablespoon of fresh lime juice and blend.

Next fill up your glass with lots of ice and pour a shot of vodka (this recipe calls for vodka citron, but I used regular vodka). I decided to garnish with a watermelon slice, because I just needed another bite of watermelon!

This is a fun drink – the watermelon, lime and coconut are all equally present in the drink and don’t overpower each other. I hope you enjoy!

 

 

Ingredients:

8 Cups chilled Watermelon

11.5 oz Coconut water

4 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 cup vodka citron

mint for garnish

 

Directions:

Add watermelon, coconut water and lime juice to blender. Blend until smooth. Pour mixture into a large pitcher. Add vodka and stir.

Serve over ice. Garnish with lime wedges and fresh mint.

 

 

Mudslide Milkshake

Mudslide Milkshake

In my house, ice cream is an absolute necessity in the summer. My Yankee blood needs that cold sweet treat to survive August in Texas. Of course, I would eat ice cream in a blizzard. I love ice cream, there’s no getting around that.

This recipe is a bit nostalgic for me, as it was something I cooked up many years ago in my very early 20’s, with a few of my friends.

One of my many jobs during my college years was working as a bartender, and I used to make mudslides for my customers often. When I started making them, it pained me to put ice cubes in the drink. A mudslide just looks like it needs ice cream. So as soon as the opportunity presented itself, I tested out my theory and yes, I was correct – mudslides make the best milkshakes.

This recipe is easy. First, it’s important to note that this recipe is better enjoyed with friends! So have a few over. I’ll pause here to give quick shout out to Vanessa and Erin – the two ladies I first shared a mudslide milkshake with – you ladies are awesome.

Next, if you have kids around, be prepared to make them a fun milk shake too – substitute the Kahlua, Vodka and Irish Cream for some milk though.

Okay, you’ve got your friends, now get your blender. Mix your Kahlua, Vodka and Irish Cream together. While Bailey’s is most common, Carolan’s Irish Cream and Ryan’s Irish Cream are on the same level and sometimes more cost efficient.

Vanilla ice cream is probably the best choice and the standard for this, but if you’re feeling adventurous I would recommend spicing it up with Cookies and Cream. If you live here in Jarrell, do yourself a favor and get your ice cream from Litzy’s – her homemade Vanilla and her Cookies and Cream are top notch. Of course, this being Texas, if you can’t make it to Litzy’s, springing for the Blue Bell would be a just and worthy cause as well.

Add as much ice cream as you want and blend until smooth.

How you top this creation is really up to you – Chocolate Syrup, Whip Cream and Cherries can all play an important role in making this drink – so garnish your drink the way you would your ideal ice cream sundae.

Toast your pals and enjoy a sweet treat!

 

Mudslide Milkshake Ingredients:

1 part Kahlua

1 part Vodka

1 ½ parts Irish Cream Liqueur

Vanilla Ice Cream

Chocolate Syrup

 

Directions:

Mix Khalua, Vodka and Irish Cream in Blender. Add scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream and blend until smooth. Garnish with Chocolate Syrup and enjoy

White Sangria Sparkler

Cocktail Cluster Episode 3
White Sangria Sparkler

The Fourth of July came on a perfect day this year – Thursday. I’ve noticed that means that the celebration can begin on July 3rd and carry on through the weekend! So to help carry on the celebration – today we bring you the White Sangria Sparkler. It’s light, it’s fun and it sparkles just like our nation does when we celebrate our Independence each year!

Start with a pitcher and your favorite white wine. It’s best to go with a medium – not too dry, but not too sweet. You will be adding fruit that will enhance the sweetness! Candoni Pinot Grigio is a great wine to use for this – it’s also one of the organic wines we carry – so a little healthier. Codes and Keys Sauvignon Blanc is another great option for this mix. Of course if you’re headed to a swimming hole this weekend, you might want to grab a box of The Drop White Wine. This is a good white wine blend and it comes in a can – so perfectly suited for water fun!

Just mix your wine and your fruits – peaches, kiwis and raspberries. Any peach will do, but this time of year you can’t go wrong with locally grown Texas peaches! They are delicious and will make this drink even more special. When you’re picking your fruit, it’s okay to use either fresh or frozen – they will both give you a great result. If you go with frozen, make sure to mix the fruit while it is still frozen, that way you won’t lose any of the fruit juices when the fruits defrost.

The recipe calls for sugar, but this is optional and really depends on how sweet you like your drinks.

Next just let this sit for at least an hour. If you use frozen fruit, the refrigerator is optional. Of course if you’re at the pool, maybe stick the pitcher in your cooler. This drink is really meant to be drunk chilled!

After an hour or more, it’s ready to be served! Mix in your sparkling water and serve over ice. A mint garnish is nice, but definitely optional.

We hope you enjoy a little extra sparkle this weekend!

*If you have kids that want to have a fun drink as well – trying making this recipe with white grape juice. *

Strawberry Basil Lime Cooler

Strawberry Basil Lime Cooler

Did you know that strawberries and basil are extremely hardy plants in central Texas? Strawberry bushes will survive the occasional freeze and basil plants are basically a weed. I enjoy gardening a little, but in reality my thumbs are only light green, so it’s important to find plants that do well, with only a little attention. I’ve been successful in that area and now I don’t know what to do with all of the basil in my garden! My family can only eat so much pesto.

I decided that making a fun cocktail is kind of like cooking. Sometimes you look at what ingredients you have and then you figure out what you can make. That’s how I came across this recipe. Strawberries and Basil are both doing well in my garden this summer, so let’s turn them into a drink!

The recipe calls for water, club soda, Vodka, Tequila or Gin, strawberries, basil and limes. Since the liquor is the last step, it’s possible to make a big batch and then let the drinker decide – spirit of choice.

The most important step here is giving the strawberries and basil time to infuse the water. Put your strawberries, limes and basil in water and let it sit for at least eight hours.

Pour one shot of vodka, gin or tequila (we tried gin and it was a win – we recommend Still Gin, distilled in Austin) into your glass, then fill it halfway with your infused water. Finish filling up the glass with club soda and enjoy.

If you enjoy infused water, you will really enjoy this summer treat!

Independence Day

Independence Day

Easter and Christmas are by far, my all time favorite holidays, but right after those two awesome days, my next two favorite holidays are Valentine’s Day and the Fourth of July – entire days devoted to celebrating love and freedom.

I grew up watching 1776 and have fond memories of visiting historical Philadelphia with my Dad as a child. After graduating from college, I joined the military and the 4th took on an even bigger meaning to me. I was blessed to experience cultures and nations that truly don’t know freedom. These experiences gave me a profound appreciation for this beautiful land we call home. We are a diverse nation filled with people from every race, every nation and every faith group and it is our differences that make us strong. This Fourth of July, I hope you will take a minute to celebrate our nation and the men and women whose ingenuity and courage bore our great nation way back when.

So pour yourself a drink – maybe a glass of 1776 Bourbon, Sailor Jerry rum or everybody’s summer favorite, ice-cold beer and let’s toast Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, General George Washington, Molly Pitcher and that entire generation of patriots.

Give me Liberty or Give me Death! Happy Birthday to the USA!

 

God Bless America!

The Chilton

Cocktail Cluster Episode 1
The Chilton

It’s time to start our cocktail cluster! Twice a week for the rest of the summer, we will feature a fun summer cocktail. You can find out how to make these cocktails in our blog or on our social media pages. You can also swing by the store and check the seasonal display – we will have recipe cards ready for you!

To kick off the cocktail cluster, we will start with an old Texas tradition that was invented in Lubbock – The Chilton.

I’m only halfway decent in the kitchen, so don’t worry - each of our cocktails will be fairly simple to make.

To start with some club soda, some vodka, a lemon and some salt. Rimming salt is preferable, but we can make do with regular salt too! Next grab a glass and a lemon juicer.

This was easy – I started by rimming my glass with salt. I forgot to get Jose Cuervo margarita salt, so I did it the old fashioned way with table salt and it worked just fine. But, it is even easier if you spring for the rimming salt.

Next, I filled my glass with ice and eyeballed about a shot of vodka. I used Eddy’s vodka, which worked really well, but pick your favorite! I would recommend Eddy’s, Titos, Gray Goose, Ciroc, Effin, or Ketel. Those are all pretty smooth vodkas which make the drink better.

After that, I used a lemon juicer and squeezed all the lemon juice I could into my glass. I actually had my kids help me with this – they had fun and so did I! After we squeezed as much juice as possible, I just threw the whole lemon into the glass. That part is optional, but I think it is more fun that way and you get more of the lemon juice as well.

Last, I filled the rest of my glass with club soda, stirred it with a straw and took a sip. It was perfect. I’m usually go for drinks that are a little sweeter so I was surprised how much I enjoyed this. So simple, pretty healthy, fun and super refreshing.

Of course, after helping me juice the lemons, my kids wanted a fun drink too. So, I made them a their own kid-friendly mocktail. We filled their glasses with ice cubes and then about three quarters full of lemonade. After pouring the lemonade, I topped their glasses off with club soda and a straw! And voila! The Chilton for Juniors!

Whether you’re drinking The Chilton the traditional way, or making it for your kids, I hope you enjoy this Texas classic!

 

Ingredients:

Salt

1 ½ oz vodka

Juice of 2 lemons

Club Soda

 

Instructions:

Rim a highball glass with salt, then fill with ice. Add vodka and lemon juice. Fill glass with soda water and stir gently.

River-Ready and Healthy to Boot

The all natural and organic way to enjoy a cold drink this summer
River-Ready and Healthy to Boot

Summer in Texas is hot – there’s no getting around that, but instead of fighting the heat by hiding inside, I propose you embrace it by getting an ice-cold beverage, grabbing your inner tube and heading to the river. Now, we’re not talking about beer – I’ll leave that for the boys. I’m talking about something fun and fresh – light and breezy.

Here’s the thing, I’m a total health food junkie. So now that the temperatures are reaching the high 90’s and starting to cross into the dreaded triple digits, I’m on the constant lookout for a light, easy and all natural treat.

We just started carrying a new drink called High Noon Sun Sips. It’s in the name – Sun Sips, you are supposed to enjoy the sun while enjoying this drink. And let me tell you – this drink is fantastic and yes, it meets my high standard of healthy. It’s a vodka and sparkling water drink flavored with fruit juice – 100% all natural, 100 calories and delicious. Oh, and it comes in a can so it’s perfect for the pool! We have these in Cherry, Watermelon, Pineapple and Grapefruit. Grapefruit’s my personal favorite, but they are all truly delicious.

I try not to discriminate or be judgmental towards others so to be fair to the other spirits, I share my time with them as well.

It’s summer and that makes me think of the beach, which makes me think of coconuts. What’s better than coconut and chocolate? Coconut and rum of course! Another brand new drink we started carrying is RumHaven Caribbean Rum. Oh. My. Goodness. This is made with real coconut water and pure cane sugar – natural, healthy and a treat to your taste buds. The first time I drank this was with blueberry lemonade. I would love to give myself points for creativity, but I just happened to have blueberry lemonade and I am so happy I did. It was amazing. I’m sure RumHaven would make an incredible Pina Colada, but I would encourage you to try this with lemonade, blueberry lemonade or strawberry lemonade. Or you could go even healthier with some fresh squeezed lemons and strawberries. I promise you – this is a treat you want to try this summer!

And where would the summer be without a margarita? I’m a frozen margarita kind of girl and this year we started carrying the Tres Agave Margarita mix. It is 100% organic and one of the best margarita mixes out there. Pair the Tres Agave mix with Dulce Vida tequila and you’ve got yourself a 100% organic (which means healthy and good for you) margarita. If you’re headed to the lake, make a batch of this and pour it into one of our insulated wine tumblers. It will stay cold the entire time you’re floating on the water. So let’s review this scenario – An ice-cold margarita, that’s actually somewhat good for you, and a relaxing day floating on the lake. As long as you remember your sunscreen, this is a recipe for a perfect day.

Of course all perfect days must come to a close, and what better way than with a glass of organic wine? We carry several organic wines and they are all fantastic. But brand-new to the store and from one of my favorite places, is Candoni wine that we have in Merlot and Pinot Grigio -it’s smooth, flavorful and delicious. I like to chill my Pinot on ice and drink alongside a caprese salad made with garden fresh tomatoes and basil.

And so, I’ve discovered that you CAN have your cake and eat it too, or in this case, you can have a fun and delicious drink that is also organic, light and easy. Now you’re river ready - Cheers!

A toast to Dads

A toast to Dads

What makes a Dad so awesome? I know all Dads are different, but I’m pretty sure if you were blessed to have a great Dad or know a great Dad, you might find there are a few qualities they all have in common. Maybe it’s their steadfast love for their family or their willingness to do whatever kind of work it takes to provide for their family.

For everything Dad does for you - let’s treat him with something special this Father’s Day.

 

If your Dad is anything like my husband and the father of my children, then a rare and special bourbon is the way to go.

We are proud to host a variety of bourbon from all over, but let’s focus on some of our finer ones brewed right here in the Lone Star State.

When looking for bourbon, it’s important to note that since Texas weather is hotter and more humid than other bourbon distilling places, like say Kentucky, it takes less time to achieve the perfect wood influence that some enjoy so much.

Texas Giant Pot Still, a locally distilled bourbon, recently won a silver medal in the San Francisco world spirits competition. Aged slowly in American Oak and weathered by the Texas sun, Giant is rich with strong butterscotch, vanilla and spice notes. It’s a good bourbon.

Alamo, an excellent sipping bourbon, is also distilled in the great state of Texas. It has a hint of chocolate and some good charcoal notes with an extremely smooth finish, making it an ideal gift for a bourbon-loving Texas Dad.

Then there is Cotton Hollow. There’s vanilla, there’s caramel and it has a really nice finish. It’s also a small Texas company – so not only good bourbon, but it’s always nice to support small businesses.

 

Of course if your Dad’s taste buds are more like my Dad’s, a man raised in an Italian home, than a fine wine might be the answer.

We just started carrying the Mollydooker line of wines and we are so excited to share them with you. Grown and vented in Australia, Mollydooker wines have won numerous awards.

The Scooter, Mollydooker’s one and only merlot, is a delicate wine layered with chocolate and spice. If you like merlot, this will not disappoint.

My personal favorite type of wine is Cabernet and Molly Dooker has two great ones – Matire D’ and Gigglepot.

Matire D’ is noted as a bright and lively wine awash with notes of cherry, strawberry and blackcurrant – approachable and expressive. This one will absolutely leave happiness on your taste buds.

Gigglepot is named after the winemaker’s daughter. It is a vibrant and elegant fine wine, full of personality and perfectly suited to its name. With flavors of raspberry, briar, mocha and mint this wine is fabulous.

No matter what you get Dad this Sunday, do it with love and let him know how special he is to you.

To every awesome Dad out there, we wish you a Happy Father’s Day!

Memorial Day

A toast to the fallen
Memorial Day

To many this weekend marks the beginning of summer – the neighborhood pool opens for the season and the scent of charcoal wafts through the air as folks fire up the grill. The new norm begins – sunglasses, sunscreen, cooking outdoors, ice-cold beer, fabulous cocktails and the promise of beautiful weather everyday. It’s an exciting time – school’s out and trips to the lake, the ocean or the river become the priority.

This weekend also marks the beginning of the red, white and blue season. It’s a time to be patriotic. Babies, parents and grand-parents will don their stars and stripes in everything from bedazzled diapers to swim trunks while Old Glory will be seen flying through neighborhoods across the country. Nationwide, flags will fly from the graves of service members no longer with us – collectively, we are proud to be American, proud of our nation’s history and proud of the men and women whose sacrifices paved the way to this great nation.

For a few, this weekend will be met with somber emotions and the memory of a friend or loved one who is no longer here. For this small group of people Memorial Day wears a name like Travis or Captain Lawrence. The blessing of a life shared, the mourning of a life lost and the prayer for eternal peace and a better tomorrow.

Whether you’re planning to fire up the grill, hit the lake or visit a cemetery this weekend – take a moment to lift your glass and toast the lives of the brave men and women whose selfless service paid the price for our freedom.

 

 

 

 

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