Holiday Beverages

Seven Stylish Bar Drinks

December 31, 2013


Seven Stylish Bar Drinks

Some like their cocktails sweet and fruity; others want them brisk and sour; and martini lovers are in a class by themselves.  Keep these recipes in your repertoire and you’ll be covered no matter whom you’re hosting. Remember to drink and serve responsibly!



1/4 Cup (2 Ounces) Vodka

2 Tablespoons (1 Ounce) Orange Liqueur

2 Tablespoons (1 Ounce) Cranberry Juice

1 Tablespoons (1/2 Ounce) Lime Juice

In a cocktail shaker combine all ingredients. Add ice cubes, cover and shake until very cold.  Strain liquid into chilled glass. If desired, garnish with lime peel twist. Makes 1 serving.

Mai Tai


1/3 Cup Pineapple Juice

3 Tablespoons (1 1/2 Ounces) Rum

3 Tablespoons (1 1/2 Ounces) Orange Liqueur

2 Tablespoons (1 Ounce) Grenadine Syrup

Dash Lime Juice

Dash Sugar

In a cocktail shaker combine all ingredients.  Add ice cubes, cover and shake until very cold. Strain liquid into tall glass filled with crushed ice.  If desired, garnish with fresh fruit (such as strawberries, kiwifruit, orange wedges) threaded on long skewer.  Makes 1 serving.

Vodka Gimlet


3 Tablespoons (1 1/2 Ounces) Vodka or Gin

1 Tablespoon (1/2 Ounce) Bottled Sweetened Lime Juice

In a cocktail shaker combine vodka and sweetened lime juice. Add ice cubes, cover and shake until very cold. Strain liquid into an ice-filled glass.  If desired garnish with a lime peel twist.  Makes 1 serving.



1/4 Cup (2 Ounces) Brandy

2 Tablespoons (1 Ounce) Lemon Juice

2 Tablespoons (1 Ounce) Orange Liqueur

Wet the rim of a chilled glass with water. Dip rim into dish of sugar to coat.  Set aside.  In a cocktail shaker combine all ingredients.  Add ice cubes, cover and shake until very cold. Strain liquid into prepared glass filled with additional ice cubes.  If desired garnish with quartered lemon slices.  Makes 1 serving.

Whiskey Sour


1/4 Cup (2 Ounces) Bourbon

2 Tablespoons (1 Ounce) Lime Juice

2 Tablespoons (1 Ounce) Lemon Juice

1 Tablespoon Sugar

In a rocks glass combine all ingredients. Using a spoon, stir until combined and sugar is dissolved.  Add ice cubes.  If desired, garnish with an orange slice and a cherry.  Makes 1 serving

Blackberry Fizz


5 Fresh or Frozen Blackberries (Thawed)

1 Tablespoon (1/2 Ounce) Lime Juice

1 Teaspoon Superfine Sugar

3 Tablespoons (1 1/2 Ounces) Cognac or Other Brandy

3 Tablespoons (1 1/2 Ounces) Sparkling Wine

In a cocktail shaker combine blackberries, lime juice, superfine sugar.  To muddle, gently crush berries with the back of a spoon. Add cognac or other brandy and ice cubes.  Cover and shake until very cold.  Strain liquid into an ice filled glass.  Add chilled sparkling wine.  Garnish with additional blackberries and, if desired, a mint sprig.  Makes 1 serving. 



3 Green Olives

1/4 Cup (2 Ounces) Gin or Vodka

1 1/2 Teaspoons (1/4 Ounce) Dry Vermouth

Thread green olives on a cocktail pick. Set aside. In a cocktail shaker combine gin (or vodka) and dry vermouth. Add ice cubes.  Cover and shake until very cold. Strain liquid into a martini glass.  Garnish with olives and/or a lemon peel twist.  Makes 1 serving. 

Vintage Travel Bar Set

Homemade Limoncello

December 14, 2013

Homemade LimoncelloHomemade Limoncello

Last month I was in Rome on a culinary tour.  Along with having delicious Amaro after dinner I had delicious and refreshing limoncello, which by the way, was much better than the bottled stuff available back home in New York. I was able to squeeze the recipe out of a well-known Roman chef before leaving Rome, although this recipe is typical of Salerno and is not as sweet as other limoncello recipes. It’s not too late to make your own limoncello for the holidays.  At the very least get a batch started in time for New Years.  If you can’t find a place to purchase grain alcohol you can substitute 100 proof vodka.  I store my limoncello in the freezer. 


5 Medium Organic Lemons

4 Cups High Proof Grain Alcohol (Such as Everclear)

1 Cup Sugar

6 Cups Water

Wash and dry lemons. Remove peel from lemons and try not to get any of the white pith. A vegetable peeler works great for this job. Put peels along with alcohol into a large glass container with a tight seal.  Let sit for 7 days.  At end of seventh day heat sugar with 6 cups water until sugar is dissolved.  Strain peels from alcohol. Add lemon peels to sugar mixture and cook until peels break down.  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Pour in alcohol.  The color will have taken on a yellow color.  Let rest for three days and then strain before use. Transfer finished limoncello to serving bottles and seal tightly. Store in freezer. This recipe makes about 1 liter.  Recipe can be doubled if desired.  


Even More Skinny Cocktails

April 8, 2013

Cocktails 3Even More Skinny Cocktails

There is a huge demand for “Skinny Cocktails,” but it’s not easy coming up with reduced-calorie cocktails.  There are several lighter-calorie alcohol brands that have come onto the market in the past few years.  Skinnygirl Vodka and Voli Light Vodka are two low-cal vodka brands that have become quite popular.  Skinnygirl was launched by former Real Housewives of New York cast member Bethenny Frankel who sold it to Beam in March 2011.  Voli is owned by singers Pitbull and Fergie.  TY KU Sake is a low-calorie, gluten-free premium sake brand which is owned by singer/producer CeeLo Green and The Millionaire Matchmaker, Patti Stanger.


Gin & Lime Juice


1 1/2 Ounces Gin

3/4 Fresh Lime Juice

1 Teaspoon Simple Syrup

1 1/2 Ounces Seltzer Water

Lime Wedge

Add all ingredients except the seltzer water into a shaker.  Shake and pour into a glass filled with ice.  Top with seltzer water and garnish with a lime wedge.  Serves 1.  155 Calories.




2 Ounces TY KU Sake

1 1/2 Ounces Light Rum

1/2 Ounce Lime Juice

1/2 Ounce Agave Nectar

Add all ingredients into a shaker.  Shake and pour into a glass filled with ice.  Serves 1.  163 Calories.


Light Bloody Mary


2 Ounces Low-Calorie Vodka

2 Ounces Tomato Juice

1/2 Ounce Fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 Teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

1/2 Teaspoon Hot Sauce

1/8 Teaspoon Celery Salt

Lime Wedge

Cucumber Slice

Celery Stalk

Add all ingredients into a shaker filled with ice.  Shake and pour into a glass.  Garnish with lime wedge, cucumber slice & celery stalk.  Serves 1.  122 Calories.Cocktails 5


More Skinny Cocktails

April 7, 2013

Cocktails 1More Skinny Cocktails

While one cannot consider these “health drinks” these cocktails are less guilty alternatives to the cocktails that are heavy on calories. Stay on weight goal track with my Skinny Cocktails.  You can have your “cake and eat it too!”

Vodka & Citrus Cocktail


2 Ounces Thyme & Citrus Blend

1 Ounce Vodka

1/4 Ounce Absinthe

Combine all ingredients in an ice filled shaker.  Shake and pour into a glass.  Tope with soda water.  Serves 1.  200 Calories


Prosecco Fresco


4 Ounces Chilled Prosecco

1 Cucumber

1 Lime Wedge

Splash of Hot Sauce

Pinch of Sea Salt

Peel the cucumber and puree it in a blender.  Strain the cucumber juice into a large glass.  Top off with the prosecco.  Finish with a splash of hot sauce and a pinch of salt.  Gently stir to combine and garnish with a lime wedge.  Serves 1.  130 Calories



Christmas Punch

December 6, 2012

Christmas Punch

Everyone needs a good Christmas Punch to serve to guests.


8 Cups Cranberry Juice

2 Cups Orange Juice

3 Cups Ginger Ale

Ice Cubes

In a pitcher combine the cranberry and orange juices.  Just before serving stir in the ginger ale.  Serve over ice.  Feel free to add orange slices if you like.  Serves 12


Eyeball Punch

October 23, 2012

Eyeball Punch

Halloween is fast approaching and if you’re having a party and in need of a creepy drink then look no further. 


8 Cups Grape Juice

3 Cinnamon Whole Sticks

1 Tablespoon Whole Cloves

1 Tablespoon Whole Allspice

3 Slices of Fresh Ginger

3 Cups Peeled Green Grapes

3 Bottles Chilled Ginger Ale (12 Ounces Each)

First you will need to peel the grapes by plunging them into boiling water for 20 seconds and then transfer them to ice water.  This will loosen the skins.  Peel the grapes and set aside.  In a large size saucepan combine the grape juice, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice and fresh ginger.  Cook over a medium heat and bring to a boil.  As soon as you’ve brought to a boil remove from the heat and set aside for 1 hour for the mixture to cool.  Do no put in the fridge just let it sit out on the counter.  Strain out the cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice and ginger.  Throw the spices away.  Pour into a pitcher and chill for two hours or until cold.  When you are ready to serve pour into a punch bowl and add the ginger ale and grapes.  Serve immediately.  Serves 12

Classic Martini

August 2, 2012

Classic Martini

Here’s an idea, why not have a martini party?


2 Ounces Gin

1/2 Ounce Dry Vermouth

3 Green Olives

Lemon Peel

Thread 3 green olives on a cocktail pick and set aside.  In a cocktail shaker combine the gin and vermouth.  Add ice cubes.  Cover and shake until VERY cold.  Strain the liquid into a martini glass.  Garnish with the olives and lemon twist.  Makes 1 serving. 


July 31, 2012


Ever wondered how to make a Cosmopolitan?  Perfect for backyard barbeques, holiday or dinner parties. 


2 Ounces Vodka

1 Ounce Orange Liqueur

1 Ounce Cranberry Juice

1/2 Ounce Lime Juice

Lime Slice For Garnish

In a cocktail shaker combine the vodka, orange liqueur, cranberry juice and lime juice.  Add ice cubes.  Cover and shake until very cold.  Strain the liquid into a chilled glass.  Garnish with a slice of lime.  Makes 1. 

Thyme Lemonade

June 29, 2012

Thyme Lemonade

Since the weather has turned hot I have to admit that I’ve been really into making iced drinks lately.  Lemonade is hard to beat as the summer beverage.  Here is a nice variation on the much loved basic lemonade.  If you want to make this an adult drink then add 6 ounces of vodka and make sure to hide your “amped” lemonade from the kids!



1 Bunch Thyme

1 1/2 Cups Sugar

1 1/2 Cups Water

2 Cups Fresh Lemon Juice

2 Cups Cold Water

Extra Thyme Sprigs For Garnish

Lemon Slices For Garnish


In a medium saucepan bring the thyme, sugar and water to a simmer over a medium heat.  Stir until the sugar dissolves.  Remove from the heat and let cool for 15 minutes.  Strain the sugar water into a pitcher filled with ice.  Now stir in the lemon juice and the cold water.  Serve over ice with thyme sprigs and lemon slices for garnish.  Serves 4

Watermelon Cocktails

April 30, 2012

Watermelon Cocktails


These Watermelon Cocktails are refreshing and easy to make. Make sure to use good quality tequila and they will make any summer party a big hit.



1/4 Cup Water

¼ Cup Sugar

14 Cups Diced Seedless Watermelon

¼ Cup Freshly Squeezed Lime Juice

8 Sprigs Mint Leaves For Garnish

8 Lime Slices For Garnish

1 ¼ Cups Good Quality Tequila



Pour the water and sugar into a small saucepan.  Bring the mixture to a simmer for 1 minute.  Remove from the heat and let cool.  In a blender or food processor puree the watermelon.  You want the watermelon to be nice and smooth.  Strain the watermelon over a large bowl and throw away any pulp.  You want to get as much watermelon juice as possible.  In a large pitcher combine the sugar water with the lime juice.  Add the watermelon juice and tequila.  Store in the refrigerator for 3 hours.  Pour the cocktails into tall glasses filled with ice.  Garnish with mint sprigs and lime slices and serve.  Serves 8


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