Ginger & Pomegranate Punch

I made this punch last weekend for a cookbook club meeting (more on that soon!). I’m not normally a punch-maker and was a little bit nervous putting it together, but it ended up being amazing! I think it was all due to the ginger beer… If this is any testament to the punch’s deliciousness, it was the first thing to go at my little cocktail bar that night. This recipe is our party gift to you at the beginning of what’s sure to be a long, fun, and punchy (ha!) holiday season.

With the realization that we had a winner of drink on our hands, I knew that I wanted to share it on the blog, but forgot to take any beautifully staged drink shots, instead, we have some after-party empties. #oops

liveseasoned_gingerpunch5

The ingredients for this bad boy couldn’t be simpler : ginger beer, pomegranate juice, and mango nectar. The ginger beer provides a ginger flavor (obvs), but I really like it because it also adds a fiery warmth to the drink that you aren’t going to get with ginger ale. Don’t accept any ale substitutes. The pomegranate juice provides the punch’s tart flavor and the mango juice its sweetness.

I used 25 oz of ginger beer, 8 oz of pomegranate juice, and about 12 oz of mango nectar. After you put that all together, you can give it a taste and adjust things to your preference.

Originally I was going to spike this with light rum, but then decided against it since we were going to have some non and light drinkers in the group. Instead, everyone had the option to add whatever alcohol they would like (we had rum, gin, vodka, and SNAP available). I loved it with rum and stuck with that for my two glasses, but I know a lot of other guests were excited by the ginger-snap description of SNAP and ended up enjoying that paired with the punch.

liveseasoned_gingerpunch2

Since I was serving this for an October event, I used it as an excuse to experiment with dried ice for the first time! My goal was to serve the punch in a pumpkin with dry ice creating a smoke or haze that would flow out and around the punch bowl. I would give the final result a C+. The punch in the pumpkin looked super seasonal at the drink station (I even kept the pumpkin top and it made a cute lid on the punch before party time), but I couldn’t get the volume of smoke that I was looking for. Maybe you’ll have better luck.

Here’s what I did : I cut the top off of an extra-large pumpkin and cleaned out the insides. Then I carved out the insides slightly until I was able to fit a metal* bowl down inside the bottom of the pumpkin, BUT I tried to not carve too much of the top rim of the pumpkin away so that my glass “punch” bowl could rest on the pumpkin and not sit down in the metal bowl. I think the following two pictures will help to illustrate the set-up.

liveseasoned_gingerpunch3

liveseasoned_gingerpunch4

At party time, I placed the dry ice in the lower metal bowl and poured some water over it to get it smoking, then I placed the glass punch bowl on top for serving. While the ice would smoke some, it would also peter out fairly quickly. We would pour more water over it, causing another big release of smoke, but again, it was quickly exhausted…. maybe I just needed more dry ice in the lower bowl? While it wasn’t a dramatic success this time, everyone loved that we gave it a shot, and I’m still game to do a few more dry ice experiments.

*Metal is essential here since the dry ice gets so cold that it could shatter glass bowls (I even worry about pyrex because there have been some issues with lower quality pyrex being manufactured in recent years).

liveseasoned_gingerpunch

See what I mean? It’s an ehh, on the scale of awesome, but hopefully I’ll have my dry ice game down by the time the boys are teenagers (gotta impress them with something).

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Midsummer Magic

It’s the middle of summer, food is at its freshest, and the livin’ is easy, or at least it should be.

There’s nothing we love more at this time of year than the intense flavors and colors of fresh fruits, and there’s no easier way to enjoy them than to just throw them in whatever you’re making. Need some ideas? That’s why we’re here.

berry_mojito4

Last week I put some fresh raspberries and cherries in my mojito – smashing them up just a bit in the bottom of the glass before adding the rest of the ingredients.

berry_mojito5

berry_mojito

Serve cubed watermelon with mint for a refreshing treat on a hot day. If you like that combo, you’ll love our watermelon mojitos!

And if your garden’s still overflowing with mint, make some aqua frescas.

Add fresh figs and blueberries to your mocktails (or cocktails!).

Throw watermelon and blueberries in your smoothies with a tea-based twist.

What about watermelon in your gazpacho?!

Any ripe berry would go well in these yogurt-based popsicles. These lemon pops are another refreshing option.

Yesterday Alex asked to bake a cake (nothing makes my heart melt faster than his request to do something in the kitchen!). He wanted a cake with “a blue middle and red paint on the frosting”. I let him add some food coloring to our batter, but then transformed his idea for red paint into a splattering of berries and their juices across the top. This is a basic yellow cake with our favorite coconut milk buttercream (scroll down).

berry_cake berry_cake2

Summer, and particularly July, is such a special time of year for us, and nothing tastes more like summer than perfectly ripe fruit; it’s pure midsummer magic. If you can get your hands on some, especially if you have the chance to get out there and pick berries, do two things : 1. eat as much as you can while picking, and 2. do something creative and special with the leftovers. You won’t regret it! xo

 

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Thirsty Thursday!

Vanilla is our ingredient of the season. So far we’ve made some vanilla-infused vodka (great for milkshakes!), a double vanilla cake, and a savory roasted chicken with vanilla bean.

Hey there, it’s almost the weekend!… and maybe you live somewhere that will actually feel spring-like on this last weekend in March? Our forecast was looking good, but now it’s taken a turn towards cold. So I’ll likely make one (or two) of these, curl up by the fire, and pretend that the snow has melted away.

liveseasoned_spring2016_drinks2

Both of the ideas are variations on traditional drinks. We just substituted plain vodka for our (super-simple) homemade vanilla vodka and made another tweak here or there.

This recipe for vanilla-infused vodka includes lime zest. I knew that I didn’t want to limit my bottle of vodka to recipes where I wanted both the vanilla and lime flavors, so I skipped the lime, but both of today’s drinks include lime, and it really is a great pairing. So much so that it’s worth considering keeping a bottle of vanilla-lime vodka on the shelf.

Vanilla Mule

Just a simple twist on the traditional Moscow Mule. Mix together ginger beer, vanilla vodka, and a splash of lime juice. So simple and so delicious!

liveseasoned_spring2016_drinks1

Vodka Tonic

This second drink is just a touch more exotic than your typical vodka tonic in that we add a splash of lime shrub. We make a vodka tonic with the vanilla vodka, add about a tablespoon of lime shrub, and then a spray of fresh lime juice if you have it.

liveseasoned_spring2016_drinks3

 yum & yum

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Tea-Infused Vodka

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. Looking for another cocktail with tea? Check out our Garden Gin. And want to experiment with more infused vodkas? We love this hazelnut liqueur and this rosemary vodka.

Today we’re here to provide a warning : tea-infused vodka may be an acquired taste… and we haven’t quite acquired it yet, but we’re trying (I’m drinking some as I type!). On a scale of 1 to 10, we’re giving this one an “ehh”.

liveseasoned_winter2016_teavodka3

So, the idea is simple, take some vodka, add some tea, let it sit, then strain, and then make a cocktail. But for how simple it is, and for how much we love tea and vodka, somehow we aren’t loving the results. And this isn’t some crazy idea schemed up by us, Absolut sells a tea-flavored vodka!

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Three Champagne and Shrub Cocktails for New Year’s Eve

_DSC1436Happy New Year’s friends!  This morning we took a few minutes from our hectic, kid-wrangling schedule to create some quick and delicious shrub and champagne cocktails.  Shrub is pretty much our favorite mixer and champagne is hands down the alcoholic bevy of New Year’s so boom – this post was born.  If you’re having a dry New Year’s, no worries, just swap out the champagne for seltzer and ignore the liquor suggestions or stir up some of these delicious mocktails instead!  If you’re down to drink, read on!

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

DIY Christmas Presents : Eats & Treats

Merry Monday everyone! Christmas is coming quicker than I can handle, so while I shop online today, I’m also going to whip up a few homemade Christmas gifts that everyone on my list will enjoy.  I love giving and receiving edible gifts. Knowing the treats were made with love and care in someone’s kitchen makes them extra enjoyable.  If you still don’t have a present for me, here are a few suggestions 😉 liveseasoned_spring2015_hazelnutliqueur3-1024x889 liveseasoned_spring2015_hazelnutliqueur6

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Lemon Lemon Gin Fizz

Lemon is our ingredient of the season. You still have time to make some of lemon popsicles for the weekend!

With hot and humid days in the forecast, this Lemon Lemon Gin Fizz is the perfect refreshing drink for your holiday weekend. Trust us!

liveseasoned_summer2015_lemonginfizz5

Why “lemon lemon”? Because the recipe contains lemongrass infused simple syrup in addition to the lemon juice typically found in a gin fizz.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Independence Day Eats & Treats

JULY

Happy Independence Day my friends! This fourth of July is shaping up to be better than years past.  Our country continues to move forward in ways that warm our hearts.  When the Declaration of Independence was signed way back in 1776, it stated “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness…” It’s pretty easy to spot the blatant hypocrisy since slavery was still legal during the signing (and looong after) and here we are in 2015 fighting for the pursuit of happiness and the permission to love freely and marry.  Instead of boycotting Independence Day (many do!) I like to treat July 4th as a time to look back, review, and assess our country’s progress and daydream about the positive changes to come.  I tend to be quite the skeptic when talking about the United States of America’s government, but when it comes down to it, I know I’m extremely lucky to live and thrive in this country and I’m grateful for the progress we are making as a nation even if it seems like it takes light years.   I hope you’ll take a moment this Independence Day to be grateful for our freedoms and to know that you can aid others in attaining theirs both in America and around the world.

While you’re reflecting, you should probably feed that belly of yours too!  I plan on eating an entire watermelon by myself followed by lots and lots of delicious cocktails.  I’m actually experimenting with a few new ones that should be ready for the blog in the coming weeks!  So pull out that red shirt and light up the sparklers while you whip up some Independence day eats and treats.

As shown from top to bottom, left to right:

Watermelon Mint Salad     Mint Agua Fresca     Homemade Pizza Four Ways

Mint Simple Syrup Mojito     Cashew Fruit Dip

Watermelon Gazpacho     Mint Ice Cream     Rosemary Infused Bloody Marys

 

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Hazelnut Liqueur

Nuts are our ingredient of the season.  Dips, cookies, and snack bars, are just a sampling of our many nutty posts. Today, we’re finally combining them with alcohol!

liveseasoned_spring2015_hazelnutliqueur9

It’s been a long time since I’ve had Frangelico or any other hazelnut liqueur, but with nuts as our featured ingredient, it was high time that I tried making my own! While doing some research for this project, I came across a Serious Eats article that encourages anyone interested to make their own rather than buy, and I couldn’t agree more. The pure hazelnut flavor really shines through, and I really appreciate being able to taylor the sweetness to my liking, which is often less than store-bought liqueurs.

After liking what Serious Eats’ encouragement to make the liqueur, I clicked through to their recipe and also liked the simplicity of that, so I used it and that’s what you see reprinted below. Making this liqueur couldn’t be easier, it’s the waiting that’s hard. While I want to say it “only” involves three to four weeks of wait-time, that’s three (or four) too many, and I think you’ll agree once you see my new favorite treat below. I say four weeks, because I was supposed to go on to steps 2 and 3 while our family was in town, and I completely forgot! As a result, I had about an extra week of the hazelnuts steeping in the alcohol, but the flavor is that delicious and strong that I have no regrets… although I’m not sure if I’ll be able to wait that long the second time I make this.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone

Tonic Water (& Gin)

I love, love, love gin & tonics! When I was pregnant with Luc, our friends in Boulder (a big brewery town) would ask me if I couldn’t wait to have a beer, and I would always so no, because all I wanted was a G&T. In fact, when I hit week 39 of my pregnancy, I stopped in a liquor store to pick up some gin… I’m sure it looked absurd that a hugely pregnant lady was buying gin with her two year old in the shopping cart, but other women get the urge to nest, and I got the urge for gin.

liveseasoned_spring2015_tonicwater6

Meanwhile, waiting at home for me was an awesome homemade tonic water kit that Calder’s sister gave me last July for my birthday. That was days after I became pregnant with Luc, and it killed me to have to sit on it for all those months! While Sarah was in town last month, we finally made the tonic water and broke open some new-to-us gins.

Continue reading

Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone