Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

Grapefruit Gin and Tonic

This Grapefruit Gin and Tonic is less of a recipe and more of a public service announcement an unpaid product push. First of all, Happy Friday! As someone who loves Gin and Tonics and LOVES elderflower, I’m a little surprised it took me as long to discover the Fevertree Elderflower Tonic water as it did. But, find it I did, and now my mission is to share it with you. Gin is definitely the liquor that I tend to stock the most different brands because they’re all so different. Some are spicy. Some are floral. Probably only because it was the first G&T I ever had, I think of Tanqueray as the ultimate Gin and Tonic Gin. And apparently Gin and Tonics are so perfect just the way they are to me, it hasn’t really occurred to me to improvise. Until a couple of weeks ago. I was at Whole Foods shopping for my Juniper Brined Turkey Roast and Gravy, so juniper and elderflower were already on my brain and what did I happen upon, but elderflower tonic water. Obviously it went straight into the grocery cart. I couldn’t wait to get it home and test it out. Even while … Continue reading

Baltimore Orange Crush

Baltimore Orange Crush at the Os game

This weekend I’m headed to Baltimore for an Oriole’s game and I’m quite sure I’ll have a Baltimore Orange Crush or two. My dear friend Kate lives in Baltimore, so I get down there time to time to enjoy the city and visit her. Last summer, she introduced me to the delicious Baltimore Orange Crush (or grapefruit crush if you like) and I’m headed back for more. The Baltimore Orange Crush is straightforward, easy to make, delicious and so refreshing on a hot summer night. Of course, because the concept is so simple, there are lots of variations on the Baltimore Orange Crush. It’s no secret that different bars make it different ways, but here’s a great place to start, courtesy of the Baltimore Sun and a famous Baltimore bar. But you should feel free to change it up and make it just how you like it. Sub regular vodka for the orange, use sprite and no triple sec, use triple sec and no sprite. Just don’t forget the fresh squeezed OJ and you’ll make the Baltimore Orange Crush your own. … Continue reading

Door County Cherry Spritzer

Door County Cherry Spritzer

If you happen to live somewhere where Door County Cherry Juice is available, you probably already make a version of this Door County Cherry Spritzer. It’s a no brainer to make for summer parties since it’s delicious and an easy sipper that you can adjust to suit your individual sweetness, booziness, and sparkliness preferences. It also makes a great Door County Cherry Spritzer cocktail for teetotalers and kids alike. I keep this one on the tame side and let guests amp it up if they like because it goes down easy and I try to help friends stay out of trouble, but you don’t have to be so kind. I also have a few modifications for you if you can’t find sweetened Cherry juice, etc. Everyone agreed that my Door County Cherry Spritzer was a great way to get our Midsommar’s Eve Party started, even the staunch beer drinkers. And that’s saying something when there’s plenty of New Glarus Spotted Cow around to tempt people. It goes well with salty hors d’oeuvres in particular because of the sweet and tart elements, so don’t be afraid to pair this Door County Cherry Spritzer with all sorts of cheese, pretzels, and even things like smoked fish dips.  … Continue reading

Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea

Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea with lemons

  My friend Luke makes this really delicious Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea that I have been meaning to share with you for some time. My English Polo Picnic Menu finally seemed like just the occasion for the Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea since it goes perfectly with the rest of the menu. The lemongrass and ginger make for a spicy, citrus-y edge to an iced tea that ends up very refreshing and full of flavor. While any black tea will work, I selected Lady Grey, which has a subtle citrus note to it, which I thought enhanced the lemongrass flavors perfectly. This Lemongrass Ginger Iced Tea is so special, that it’s worthy of pulling out the sterling silver iced tea spoons and setting a fancy tea tray. But it tastes just as delicious straight out of a mason jar that you can pack up and take with you on picnics and down the shore all Summer long. I love special recipes from friends and family, because at least for me, they trigger all the lovely memories of great meals and good times whenever you create them. I think of Luke and our many fun cooking projects every time I make this … Continue reading

Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca

Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca with mint leaves

We’ve got leaves, we’ve got flowers, we’ve even got some legitimately hot days head our way and since it seems I’m determined to skip right into Summer this year, we’ve got refreshing Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca just in time for Cinco de Mayo. In Spanish, “agua fresca” means cool waters, and I first really learned about the wonder that is agua fresca living in the San Francisco Bay Area, where every good burrito stand has some form of house agua fresca that they serve to counter the heat of the hot weather and the spicy food. I’ve had a lot of different flavors over the years, but recently a friend of mine made a Cucumber Mint Lime Agua Fresca (like this one) that she had at the restaurant Lemonade in L.A. While I don’t promise that this is their exact recipe, I can promise that I like it a lot, it is delicious and refreshing, and it’s easy to make. And once you make it the first time, you’ll be persuaded to make it often. It’s a great beverage to keep on hand for guests who aren’t imbibing, too. Just serve it in a big pitcher with lots of … Continue reading

White Cranberry Sprinter Cocktail

White Cranberry Sprinter Cocktail with lime

It’s five o’clock somewhere, and it’s almost five o’clock here, so it’s time to get ready for the weekend with this White Cranberry Sprinter Cocktail. Sprinter, that’s spring, plus winter, see what I did there? Corny, I know. But here in Philly, it’s definitely Sprinter. Yesterday it was 70. Today it’s 40. What gives? And what’s a party thrower to do? Hot Chocolate or Piña Coladas? Don’t worry, of course I have the drink for you. I highly recommend mixing up a batch of this delicious White Cranberry Sprinter Cocktail which perfectly navigates the challenges of the in between season with its light nod to winter in the form of cranberry and rosemary, and its playful spring inclinations with a little spicy ginger and Caribbean inspired rum. If you’ve been persuaded by me in the past to keep some herbal simple syrup on hand, all you need to do is add a couple of tablespoons of rough chopped ginger into some rosemary simple syrup and rewarm it. It will infuse while it cools leaving you with a woodsy, spicy syrup that goes great with the tartness of the lime and cranberry. If you’re starting from scratch, it’s a cup of … Continue reading

Hair of the Dog Breakfast Margarita

Hair of the Dog Breakfast Margaritas

This Hair of the Dog Breakfast Margarita is one of those “you’ll just have to trust me and try it” recipes, because it sounds a little wacky. But I promise you’ll like it. It’s really nice as a breakfast drink as it’s a little savory. Think a Bloody Mary replacement… I suppose the cat’s out of the bag, I’m into those lately (à la my Sunny Mary: A Bloody Good Alternative). The inspiration for the Hair of the Dog Breakfast Margarita was an article on Austin bars, but as you can see, I’ve run with it. I lightened it up so it doesn’t have much alcohol in it- perfect for a rejuvenating weekend brunch drink. The Hair of the Dog Breakfast Margarita is also a great mocktail. Instead of infusing tequila, just infuse some water, or even sparkling water, if you want a little effervescence. And of course you can add as much tequila as you like. Just make sure you add the jalapeño stuff by taste so you don’t get it too spicy for your guests. Who says margaritas aren’t for breakfast? Not me. … Continue reading

Rose and Raspberry Float

Rose & Raspberry Float with rose lemonade

Summer, Summer, Summer, wherefore art thou… Fall? Really? It’s Labor Day weekend already? But it’s not here just yet, so I’m going to squeak in a few more truly Summer recipes, like this Rose and Raspberry Float complete with fresh raspberries and a gorgeous pink color. Added bonus, it looks super fancy and elegant, but all you need is a blender and no one will ever know the ice cream is only sorta homemade. Can you just buy raspberry ice cream pre-made for this Rose and Raspberry Float? Maybe. I set out to buy some and discovered three and a half stores later that I was making it myself… and way too late in the game to start from scratch. But it was a good lesson in impressing your guests with ease. Start with a really good vanilla and add your own special twist, and voila! homemade ice cream. Go nuts with wacky flavors, or pick something that will pair with a special soda like my Rose and Raspberry Float. Check out these gorgeous double pink roses I found for the occasion. I can’t help but think this would be a lovely dessert for a tea party. Sometimes monochromatic flowers … Continue reading

Sunny Mary: a Bloody Good Alternative

Sunny Marys a Bloody Good Alternative

Summer is in full swing and tomatoes are coming in by the bushel, so I’ve been busy in the kitchen conjuring weird and wonderful uses for said tomatoes. It’s hot; so hot that hot is out and ice is in. With my mind focused in on tomatoes and ice it was only a matter of time before I set my sights upon re-envisioning the classic Bloody Mary. Let me present, Sunny Mary: a Bloody Good Alternative. I’ve been experimenting with tomato water lately and learning of its many virtues: light, luscious, packed-with-summer flavor, once I tasted it, I knew I had to make a lightened up, let-the-tomato-steal-the-show version of a Bloody Mary with tomato water. Pair that notion with a box of gorgeous yellow Roma tomatoes and the Sunny Mary: a Bloody Good Alternative was a done deal. Tomato water is delicate in flavor and body so it makes for a very elegant brunch cocktail. In the days of “add a fried chicken to it” Bloody Marys (thanks for that Wisconsin), the Sunny Mary: a Bloody Good Alternative is the exact opposite. Its flavor is intense yet subtle all at the same time. It begged for a fresh, crisp, raw … Continue reading

Urban(ish) Foraging: Sumac Lemonade

Sumac Lemonade sumace drupes

One of life’s supreme joys is pretending you’re capable of living off the land. As a city dweller, we have to take our opportunities to experience that joy (delusional though it may be) as it comes. I’d been meaning to make Sumac Lemonade, or Sumac tea for years, but I’ve done a terribly poor job of scheduling visits to my parents when the sumac drupes were ready for harvesting. Imagine my surprise when I was hanging out with friends in Jersey City last weekend and we happened upon a huge sumac grove while we were walking the dogs. Of course I started snapping the huge red flowery cones right off the trees and stuffing them in leftover plastic sacks. Plans for Sumac Lemonade, I had. You see, I read an article a few years ago that dubbed the Sumac the Lemonade Tree because the tea is a tart, fruity, citrusy tasting drink that goes down like lemonade, but without all the sugar. And that was enough to make me obsessed with checking it out. I mean, a lemonade tree that doesn’t require living in California anymore? Sign me up. And the Sumac Lemonade delivered on the promises. It was really … Continue reading

Watermelon Saffron Cooler

Watermelon Saffron Cooler lime wheels

I have to admit, this Watermelon Saffron Cooler is about one year in the making. It started with some saffron simple syrup and a need for a sort of sweet and savory cocktail with saffron. And I nailed it. Finally. But finding the right blend that would accentuate the saffron without masking it took awhile. And a lot of ingredients. At one point there was a yellow tomato puree that you’re going to see in a very cool Bloody Mary; I tried out Crème De Violette, and rum, and tonic water… the list goes on. But I’m pleased to report that the Watermelon Saffron Cooler is ready, and well worth the wait. You’d do well to make the watermelon juice and saffron simple syrup ahead of time, while neither is time consuming, it’s nice to have everything ready to go and well-chilled before you’re ready to make the cocktails. And once you make your first batch of watermelon juice, you’re going to want to have it around all Summer long. I buy whole watermelons and juice one half right away. Just about a ¼ cup of the juice is the perfect addition to a glass of ice water. But even … Continue reading

Lavender Lemonade

Lavender Lemonade

There’s nothing like lemonade on a hot day. And if you want to make it extra special, a little lavender simple syrup goes a long way in creating this herbal, floral treat of Lavender Lemonade. Best of all, it’s a snap. Last week, we were in Door County, Wisconsin and I wanted to do something a little special for our big group of friends as well as create some great photo opps for Dirty Laundry Kitchen. I decided to throw an old-fashioned croquet party, and while I wanted it to be elegant, I didn’t want to spend a whole day of my vacation stuck in the kitchen while my friends and family were off playing without me. I centered the menu around quick and simple store-bought products that leave plenty of room to gussy them up. The menu was slightly French country, and very simple, and in two hours, I’d made all the food, fixed the lemonade, set a gorgeous table (with a little help from my mom) and slipped into my croquet whites. We had a hilarious afternoon knocking the croquet balls into the woods and trying our best to be the first back to the wicket. And with … Continue reading