ALL POSTS TAGGED "cocktails"

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There’s nothing like a classy beverage to make a holiday party feel more festive or to whet everyone’s appetite for small bites. My husband and I are cocktail enthusiasts, but as much as I love drinks with lots of exotic ingredients and elaborate garnishes (hello, flaming limes!), we’ve found it’s best to keep it simple behind the bar when you’re entertaining for a large group. It’s also a good idea to keep drinks on the low-alcohol end of the spectrum so guests can sip the night away without feeling the negative effects the next morning. So, what do you mix when you’re looking for something simple, low-alcohol, festive and tasty? Enter the shim!

The Pleasant Evening cocktail on a tray

TWO TASTY COCKTAIL RECIPES TO TRY

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Home for the HolidaysI hope you’ve enjoyed following along as we share our holiday entertaining ideas straight from our own festive gathering with the DIYNetwork.com Made + Remade team. Each week we’ve focused on a particular area, from the fireplace to the table and now to the bar. You saw the inspiration behind the bar — lots of sparkle, a magnolia garland and an assortment of cocktail ingredients and garnishes within reach. Now, take a look at how the bar came together.

Home for the Holidays: Bar

Made + Remade contributor Hannah prepares our signature drink, the Pleasant Evening cocktail.

Home for the Holidays: Evergreen Swag

We framed some of our childhood Christmas photos (I’m third from the right in the gift box), attached velvet ribbon to the frame and hung each from twine behind the evergreen garland. This served as a perfect backdrop for our bar area. Learn how to make the magnolia garland at Made + Remade >>

Home for the Holidays: Bar

We stocked the bar with a variety of liquors, spirits and garnishes, something every hostess should keep in mind when prepping for an event.

Home for the Holidays: Champagne Garnishes

We wanted to separate the wine and champagne by setting up a bar cart. Here, we set out fun garnishes like candied cranberries, rock candy and starfruit to dress up champagne coupes.

Check back for more ideas on setting up a bar for your upcoming holiday parties.

We’ve teamed up with our friends over at DIYNetwork.com’s Made + Remade to throw a holiday party, and you’re invited!

Follow along as we craft the party decor, set the holiday table and cook up the menu. Along the way, you’ll get the step-by-step instructions and tips to throw a great party in your home. Catch up on all the posts here.

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By now, you’ve seen the inspiration for our overall holiday party, the eye-catching fireplace, plus the food and dessert tables. Instead of putting the food and drinks together, we wanted the signature cocktail and champagne to have a space all to themselves. I mean, sparkling swizzle sticks and trays of skewered cranberries and rock candy garnishes deserve to be showcased, amiright?

We also wanted to make sure holiday entertaining is seamless for you this year, so we paired quick and easy cocktails with beautiful handmade decor you can prepare in only hours. Take a look at our vision for the bar setup for our holiday party. Who’s ready to pop open a bottle of champagne?

Home for the Holidays Bar Inspiration

1. Bunches of sleigh bells tied to natural rope as the bar’s backdrop
2. Sketches of evergreen garland (above the bar) by Hannah B. Slaughter
3. Gold cocktail shaker for the signature cocktail
4. A mobile bar cart with a vintage feel
5. Picture-frame ornaments hung from an evergreen garland
6. A metallic console table to accompany the bar cart
7. + 8.  Fun champagne garnishes like rosemary, pomegranate and rock candy
9. Sparkly swizzle sticks for the signature cocktail

We’ve teamed up with our friends over at DIYNetwork.com’s Made + Remade to throw a holiday party, and you’re invited!

Follow along as we craft the party decor, set the holiday table and cook up the menu. Along the way, you’ll get the step-by-step instructions and tips to throw a great party in your home. Catch up on all the posts here.

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With autumn in full swing, you can not only infuse your food but your cocktails with everything from apples and cranberries to pumpkins and pears. Bring the season’s most abundant flavors into your Halloween, Thanksgiving and holiday gatherings by mixing these fruits with a bottle of bubbly and other yummy ingredients. Troy Sidle, master mixologist from NYC hotspot Pouring Ribbons, shares his favorite seasonal cocktails you’ll want to try, too.

Ruffino Atunno

Fall Cocktail

Ingredients

6 ounces Ruffino Prosecco
1/2 ounce apple brandy
small scoop cranberry puree
cranberry skewer, for garnish

Instructions

Stir the apple brandy and cranberry puree over ice. Strain into a serving glass. Top with Ruffino Prosecco. Serve in a coupe or champagne flute, and garnish with a cranberry skewer.

Ruffino Elisir Magico

Fall Cocktail

Ingredients

6 ounces Ruffino Moscato d’Asti
1/2 ounce black walnut liqueur
dash angostura bitters
orange twist, for garnish

Instructions

Add black walnut liqueur and bitters into a wine glass over ice. Top with Ruffino Moscato d’Asti. Serve in a wine glass with an orange twist.

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The changing season means I can start reaching for hot toddies instead of ice-cold libations. And there’s nothing I love more than a spiked chai tea or an Irish coffee to pair with dessert at night. What are some of your favorite seasonal cocktails? Share them with us!

ORANGE SPICED CIDER

Orange Spiced Cider Recipe

Created by James Labe for Numi Organic Tea

Ingredients

1 Numi Orange Spice tea bag
8 ounces apple cider
2 ounces dark rum
1 cinnamon stick, for garnish

Directions

Heat cider until very hot. Steep tea bag directly in cider for five minutes, covered. Uncover, add rum and stir. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.

PEAR HONEYBUSH

Pear Honeybush Recipe

Created by James Labe for Numi Organic Tea

Ingredients

1 Numi Honeybush tea bag
2 ounces bourbon
4 ounces fresh pear juice
maraschino cherry, for garnish

Directions

Infuse tea bag in bourbon for thirty minutes, then remove bag, squeezing out excess. Pour ingredients into a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into glass. Serve with a maraschino cherry.

HOT APPLE CIDER

Hot Apple Cider Recipe

Created by celebrity caterer Andrea Correale

Ingredients

2 ounces tuaca
hot apple cider
cinnamon stick, for garnish
cranberries, for garnish
whipped cream (optional)

Directions

Pour two ounces tuaca in an Irish coffee glass and fill with hot apple cider. Top glass with whipped cream (if desired) and garnish with a cinnamon stick.

Pumpkin Pie Martini

Pumpkin Pie Martini

Created by celebrity caterer Andrea Correale

Ingredients

1 ounce coconut rum
1 ounce coffee liquor
6 ounces milk
1/3 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 to 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie filling (depending on desired taste)
candy corn, for garnish

Directions

Mix all ingredients together in a blender with a few cubes of ice. Serve in a martini glass with a candy corn garnish and a sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

Credit: Orange Spiced Cider and Pear Honeybush recipes courtesy of Numi Organic TeaHot Apple Cider and Pumpkin Pie Martini recipes courtesy of Elegant Affairs Caterers

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That’s it. Summer’s coming to an end. School supply sections are being ransacked. Pools are being abandoned. Boots are slowly being pulled out of the back of the closet. Use this long Labor Day weekend as a time to toast to the end of the season with fruity and refreshing libations. Celebrity caterer Andrea Correale shares her favorite end-of-summer cocktail recipes that are sure to send you into fall in good spirits.

End of Summer Sangria

Labor Day Cocktail Recipes

Ingredients

2 bottles dry white wine
1 cup triple sec
1/2 cup berry-flavored vodka
1/2 cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
1/2 cup simple syrup
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 cups strawberries, hulled and sliced
1 cup raspberries
1 1/2 cups pineapple chunks (optional: use star-shaped cookie cutter to cut out patriotic shapes)

Directions

To make the simple syrup, boil 1/2 cup water and add 1/2 cup granulated white sugar. Turn heat to simmer and stir until dissolved. Turn off heat and let cool.

Combine all ingredients in a large punch bowl or pitcher, and stir well. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours. Serve well-chilled with a good scoop of fruit floating in each drink, or serve over ice.

THREE MORE RECIPES TO TRY!

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August is National Peach Month (yup!), and we’re starting out the celebration — and the weekend — with peachy concoctions that are the perfect mix of sweet and tangy. In several parts of the country peaches are now in season, so stock up and start shaking … or stirring.

Fuzzy Naval Crush

Fuzzy Naval Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients

2 ounces Van Gogh Cool Peach Vodka
1 ounce triple sec
splash of orange juice
splash of soda water
mint, for garnish

Directions

Combine all ingredients in a pint glass filled with crushed ice. Garnish with mint.

Berry Peach Lemonade

Berry Peach Cocktail Recipe

More Cocktail Recipes After the Jump

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Whenever I head to a summer soiree, I always bring my favorite warm-weather staple: Sangria. There have been so many times, though, where I’ve made it and one ingredient overpowers another and the fruit becomes just a garnish rather than a prime part of the cocktail. Nick Accardo, head mixologist at W Scottsdale in Arizona, has crafted no-fail sangria and margarita recipes for summer — no blender and no sweet/sour mix needed.

Perfect Sangria Recipe

Easy Sangria Recipe

Photo: W Scottsdale

Ingredients

1/2 ounce brandy
1/2 ounce peach schnapps
3 ounces Lolailo Red Sangria wine (or similiar wine)
splash of fresh-squeezed orange juice
fresh cherries and mixed berries (strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)

Directions

Pour all ingredients into empty red wine glass, including cherries and fresh berries. Then, fill glass with ice. Stir thoroughly. Enjoy!

Perfect Margarita Recipe

Easy Margarita Recipe

Photo: W Scottsdale

Ingredients

1.5 ounces Don Julio Blanco tequila
1/4 ounce triple sec
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
1/2 ounce agave nectar
1/4 ounce fresh-squeezed orange juice
float 1/2 ounce Grand Marnier
lime and orange wedge, for garnish

Directions

Fill two glasses with freshly cracked ice. Pour all ingredients, except Grand Marnier, over ice in one of the glasses. Shake vigorously and strain into the other glass. Then, float the Grand Marnier on top. Drop in both the orange and lime juice and garnish with a lime and orange wedge. Enjoy!

Try out one of our other delicious concoctions this weekend:

Photos and recipes courtesy of W Scottsdale Hotel

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Next time I’m in New York to visit Lili, Briana and Alyssa, I have a few hot-spots on my list to check out: PDT (Please Don’t Tell), Milk & Honey, Little Branch and Gwynnett St. Some of these bars accept guests by reservation or referral only, or only allow members after a certain time. For some reason, that makes them so much more intriguing. I’m dying to check out the drink menu more than the atmosphere, though. Over at Milk & Honey, for example, fruit juices and extracts are all made by hand; mixing glasses are stored in the freezer to keep drinks cold; and ice is cut by hand using an ice pick to create imperfect, jagged pieces. If I know that’s the process going into my cocktail, I can certainly wait a few minutes for it.

So, are you ready for 5 p.m. to get here so you can wrap your hand around a refreshing, warm-weather concoction? I’m with you! Let’s celebrate the start of summer with four delicious drink recipes from renowned NYC mixologists (or alchemists, rather).

UP ALL NIGHT COCKTAIL:

Summer Solstice Cocktail Recipe

Recipe courtesy of Lauren Schell, Little Branch, NYC

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces Reyka Vodka
1/2 ounces rosemary-infused cognac
3/4 ounce lemon juice
1/2 ounce cane syrup
bar spoon
rosemary sprig, for garnish

Directions

Whip and strain into iced Collins glass. Top with soda water. Garnish with large rosemary sprig.

STEAM 75 COCKTAIL:

Summer Solstice Cocktail Recipe

Recipe courtesy of John deBary, PDT, NYC

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces Reyka Vodka
3/4 ounce Art in the Age Rhubarb
3/4 ounce lime juice
1/2 ounce strawberry puree
1 ounce Brut champagne
lavender sprigs, for garnish

Directions

Shake and strain into chilled coupe. Top with 1 ounce Brut champagne. Garnish with sprigs of lavender.

More Cocktails

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Memorial Day’s late May date has marked the unofficial start of summer for years. Most schools unlock the doors and release students for the year that Friday before. [FREEDOM!] The weather is finally at a solid seasonal temperature. It’s also an unofficial rule that you must spend the day/weekend outdoors. Rain is not tolerated. No matter how you choose to spend your holiday weekend, unwind with these refreshing summer cocktails that will leave you ready for lazy pool days all season long.

Cantaloupe Tea Daiquiri

Memorial Day Cocktail Recipes at HGTV's Design Happens Blog

Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces Numi Emperor’s Pu-erh Tea
1 1/2 ounces Van Gogh Blue Vodka
3 ounces frozen cantaloupe, cubed
1 ounce coconut milk
splash of lemon juice
lemon wedge, for garnish

Directions

Steep tea at four times the normal strength for two minutes, then remove tea bag and chill liquid for later use. Combine and blend ingredients in blender, adding a splash of lemon for each serving. Serve on the rocks and garnish with a lemon wedge.

More Warm-Weather Concoctions

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This might be the most fitting post I’ve ever written for Design Happens. Yesterday, I returned from an eight-day vacation to Chile where their most famous cocktail is the Pisco Sour. And today, I received some oh-so-delicious recipes that incorporate Chilean Pisco from the Elqui Valley with egg whites to create some refreshing, spring-y cocktails. If I can’t be in Chile, I might as well bring that South American feel to my kitchen.

KAPPA Sour

Kappa Sour Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients

2 ounces KAPPA Pisco
1 ounce fresh lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1 egg white
Angostura bitters, for topping

Directions

Combine KAPPA Pisco and remaining ingredients into a mixing glass filled with ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a small champagne flute. Top with half dashes of Angostura bitters.

KAPPA Blue Star
Kappa Blue Cocktail Recipe

Ingredients

2 ounces KAPPA Pisco
1 ounce lemon juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1 egg white
10 blueberries

Directions

In a shaker, muddle blueberries with simple syrup. Fill the shaker with ice, add KAPPA Pisco and remaining ingredients. Shake vigorously and strain into a small champagne or martini glass.

Photos and recipes courtesy of KAPPA Pisco

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Winter blues, anyone? I know I’m not alone here. Most of the HGTV.com editorial staff is taking turns seeking sunshine. Camille hit up her sister’s beach house for a little R&R (relaxation and remodeling); Lili just got back from a family vacay in Hawaii (I know!); and Marianne is somewhere in sunny Florida and we hate her for it. So, while some stick their toes in the sand, we can pretend we’re there with umbrella-embellished cocktails. Hey, it does the trick for me!

Blue Hawaii:

Blue Hawaii Cocktail Recipe at HGTV.com's Design Happens Blog

Beachy Cocktail Recipes

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I know, I know, today is Valentine’s Day (Happy Love Day, friends!), but don’t most people typically celebrate mid-week holidays on the weekend? I do, at least. Weekend Valentine’s Day celebrators, here’s a sweet idea for you. Katie Meyers of Meyers Styles decided to spread the love this year with a bubbly V-Day brunch for more than two. Check out her fun, festive and simple entertaining ideas.

Valentine's Day Brunch Ideas for HGTV Design Happens Blog

Valentine's Day Brunch Ideas From HGTV Design Happens Blog

Host a Valentine’s Day Brunch

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As the resident happy hour blogger around here, I get emails from my fellow Design Happens bloggers all the time with great new recipes for drinks that they have made and loved. Briana recently sent a recipe for an eggnog martini that is now on my list of go-to holiday drinks. A martini? With eggnog? Does it get any better than that? Decide for yourself:

Polar Eggnog Skinny 'Nog-Tini

Eggnog Skinny ‘Nog-Tini

Skinny ‘Nog-Tini
1 part high quality bourbon
1 part spiced rum *we used what we had on hand, blackstrap rum
1 part maple syrup
2 parts almond milk (or whole milk) *we used unsweetened vanilla almond milk
4 parts Polar® Eggnog Seltzer
Fresh grated nutmeg (garnish)
Combine all ingredients, except the seltzer, until foamy and aerated (you can always froth with a mini blender). Add ice, and swirl to chill. Strain into large festive glass; top generously with Polar® Eggnog Seltzer. Top with grated spice.

A note from Briana: I was skeptical at first, but it ended up tasting pretty decent! That said, this is coming from someone allergic to real eggnog who drinks SilkNog every year. The fiancé liked it, too, though, so I think it passes the test.

We’ve got more delicious holiday cocktails to the rescue. Infuriating in-laws? Kitchen woes? Long lines at the mall? Yep, there’s a drink for that. Here are our favorite holiday cocktail pairings to soften any situation the season throws your way.

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The air is getting cooler and the clocks are turning back an hour; fall is here and with that comes nights spent in front of the fire with a cold-weather cocktail. The recipe to try this week? A Classic Hot Toddy.

This soothing, warm drink was once believed to help with a cold or the flu. While modern-day doctors aren’t handing out prescriptions for this delicious drink, we recommend it to ease your transition into winter. The mixture of whiskey, lemon and honey is perfect to help you fall into cold weather.

Classic Hot Toddy Recipe

Classic Hot Toddy

Is a hot toddy not your drink of choice? We’ve got 11 more warm-and-toasty cocktails.

In a festive, holiday mood? Make sure to check out our giant holiday package for our best decorating ideas, party planning tips and gift suggestions.

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I’m taking a quick break from spooky Halloween cocktails (don’t worry, they will be back next week!) to share an amazing drink that I got to enjoy on my beach vacation this week. The Bushwacker is a beachside favorite due to its cool, chocolate-milkshake-like consistency that the sit-back-and-relax imbibers tend to embrace. Whether you are enjoying this frosty beverage on the coast or in your living room while dreaming about sandy beaches, it’s guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. Just be careful you don’t forget that this delicious concoction contains quite a bit of alcohol. They taste like they are simply sweet treats – make sure you don’t get bushwacked!

Bushwacker

Bushwacker (from Food.com)

Ingredients
1/2 ounce rum (Cruzan is the best, but use whatever brand you have)
1/2 ounce vodka (any brand)
1/2 ounce Baileys Irish Cream (or a similar off-brand name)
1/2 ounce Kahlua (or a coffee flavored off-brand name)
1/2 ounce amaretto liqueur (any brand)
1/2 ounce chococo chocolate-flavored liqueur
1/2 ounce Frangelico (I recommend it) (optional)
1/2 ounce creme de coconut (a MUST – “Coco Lopez” is best)
1 cup crushed ice (more or less to make the proper consistency)
3 dashes of grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon whipped cream
1 maraschino cherry

Directions
Put everything, except nutmeg, whipped cream and cherries in a blender and use enough ice that when blended will be the consistency of a milkshake. Blend, pour into glasses, and top with whipped cream, a cherry, and a couple of dashes of grated nutmeg.

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Does it get more gory than this? Impress (or disgust) your guests by serving Bloody Brain Shooters at your Halloween party this year. Channel your inner mad scientist to create this creepy-looking shooter. Add chilled vodka and lime juice to a shot glass, then use a straw to drip Irish cream on top. The acidic lime juice will cause the cream to curdle, creating realistic blobs of “brain.”

Bloody Brain Shooter

Bloody Brain Shooter

If you want to display a bit more sophistication at your haunted gathering, try the fruity version of this cocktail which can be served in a champagne glass.

The Brain Cocktail

The Brain Cocktail

Want more spooky cocktails? From a zombie gut cocktail to a bloody brain shooter, keep your guests entertained with spirited Halloween cocktails and party drinks.

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