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

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

Garden Gin

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. We’re using that as an excuse to sit down more often and relax over a cuppa’. Check out the entire tea archiveThis post, in particular, is another one that calls for the use of Earl Grey (in ice cream sandwiches!).

I can’t believe that it took us two months to combine tea and alcohol, but the day is finally here! Today we’re sharing our take on this delicious cocktail from Sugar & Charm. As you’ll see, this drink is a complex mix of a variety of botanical flavors. The Earl Grey tea provides a dark tannin-filled foundation, and then it’s layered with lavender, lime juice, and just a hint of citrus, both from the tea and a sliver of zest. Honey adds just a touch of sweetness. Needless to say, this drink is far from the Long Island Iced Teas we all had one too many of in college.

liveseasoned_winter2015_gintea3 copy

I mentioned that the drink gets a hint of citrus from the Earl Grey tea. Traditionally, Earl Grey is a black tea that is scented with the addition of bergamot essential oil. The bergamot orange is an extremely sour fruit with a rind the color of lemons. It is not considered edible, but with the addition of sugar can be turned into marmalade. Earl Grey tea was first produced in England in the early 1800s in an attempt to reproduce the flavors of more expensive Chinese teas. Perhaps surprisingly, combining gin and Earl Grey, as we do below, is not a unique idea. Although it’s not as fashionable today, it was common throughout the UK, particularly in the late 1800s.

Continue reading

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

Rose Tea

Tea is our ingredient of the season this winter. We’re using that as an excuse to sit down more often and relax over a cuppa’. If you’re looking for another way to spice up your black tea, check out our masala chai. Click here for our archive of Valentine DIYs.

Hey there, thinking about surprising your Valentine with breakfast in bed and a side of tea? No? How about just surprising him/her with an afternoon cup of tea? Either way, we have an idea for making that Valentine’s Day cup extra special ~ add some dried rose petals.

liveseasoned_winter2015_rosetea1-1024x768 copyDoesn’t that look beautiful? Think about letting your sweetheart add the dried tea and petals to the boiled water themselves, that way they can see the delicate pink petals before they go in the kettle and lose their color. #itsthelittlethings

liveseasoned_winter2015_rosetea3

The rose petals will add a light floral aroma and flavor to any variety of tea. I prefer a black base, but this would also go well with the lighter flavor of a white tea.

All rose petals are edible, but not all are created/tended equally; be sure to purchase dried rose petals that were grown and processed without any pesticides or additional chemicals.

liveseasoned_winter2015_rosetea2

So simple, but so sweet for your special someone on Valentine’s Day.

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

Homemade Blood Orange Shrub

As you know, it’s orange season! So we’re breakin’ out all the orange recipes including sweet treats, sparkly drinks and even biodegradable cleaners – watch out!

liveseasoned_winter14_bloodorangeshrub-1

I talked to the orange today and he said he is totalllllly cool with featuring his cousin, the blood orange, in today’s recipe.  I’m partial to the blood orange margarita, but since I’m getting over a bug I’ll settle for a blood orange shrub soda.  Have you ever had shrub? It’s described as drinking vinegar, but I like to think of it as flavoring syrup.  It’s the perfect concoction to have on hand while you’re mixing cocktails or looking to spice up your seltzer water.

I’ve been on a shrub kick! I was gifted a whole bunch of shrubs from Tait Farm and I’ve been sucking them down all January.  I love having a bubbly seltzer drink to break up the monotony of my normal coffee, tea and water rotation.  You may also remember that shrub is one of my bedside necessities so when Katie gave me Quench by Ashley English for Christmas, I headed right to the shrub recipes.  I spotted this blood orange recipe by guest contributor Marisa from the Food In Jars blog.  I actually modified the recipe by cutting the vinegar by a third.  I thought the apple cider vinegar was a tad overpowering in my first batch.  It could have been that my blood oranges were a different type than those used by Marisa or maybe our oranges were at different ripenesses, whatever it was I hated knowing the apple cider vinegar was trampling all over the tangy blood orange juice. So here it is shrub sippers, an easy way make your own blood orange shrub syrup.

liveseasoned_winter14_bloodorangeshrub-4

Blood Orange Shrub Ingredients:

  • 4-5 blood oranges
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar

Blood Orange Shrub Instructions:

  • Pour one cup of blood orange juice into a pint-sized ball jar or any glass container with a tight fitting lid.
  • Add one cup of sugar to the juice, put the lid on and give it a shake.
  • Allow the sugar to completely dissolve into the jar.  This may take a couple hours. Feel free to give the mixture a good shake every once in awhile.
  • Add 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar to the mixture and shake to combine.
  • Store this shrub in the fridge when you’re not mixing up tasty drinks and sauces.

liveseasoned_winter14_bloodorangeshrub-5

liveseasoned_winter14_bloodorangeshrub-1-2

My favorite way to use this blood orange shrub (and all shrubs) is to mix up a little shrub soda. Simply combine a tablespoon or two of shrub with a glass of icy club soda.  You can also use this blood orange shrub to flavor other favorite drinks like iced tea or lemonade.  Shrubs are also delightful cocktail mixers, but I’m getting over a little cold so no suggestions at the moment.  I’ll get back to you on that one 😉

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

Sparkling Cider Mocktails

 Apples are our ingredient of the season. Check out our complete archive of apple drinks, recipes, and crafts.

If your holiday dinners are anything like ours, there will be at least one bottle of non-alcoholic sparkling cider or grape juice on the buffet. We may have outgrown the kids’ table, but we haven’t outgrown the kids’ bubbly. This year we suggest adding a bit of grown-up flavor to your juice in the form of cranberry and ginger-rosemary simple syrups, creating mocktails worthy of the adult table… of course, we won’t bat an eyelash if you add a touch of your favorite vodka or gin too!

liveseasoned_fall2014_thanksgivingmocktails14_wm

Each of these drinks gets their flavor from Martinelli’s Organic Sparkling Cider and an infused simple syrup. We’re sure your holiday menu is already full, so we purposefully kept these mocktails simple to make using ingredients that we always have on hand for Thanksgiving. As such, there’s no need to add an extra item to the mile-long grocery list, and if you’re short on time, you can assign the syrup-making to the first guest to walk through the door.

liveseasoned_fall2014_thanksgivingmocktails13_wm
liveseasoned_fall2014_thanksgivingmocktails6_wm

 Rosemary-Ginger Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 4-5 1/4 inch slices fresh ginger
  • Place all ingredients in a sauce pot, bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 1-2 minutes until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Strain the rosemary and ginger from the syrup once it cools.

Cranberry Simple Syrup

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup cranberries, coarsely chopped
  • Place all ingredients in a sauce pot, bring to a boil and then let simmer for about 1-2 minutes until sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Strain the rosemary and ginger from the syrup once it cools.
liveseasoned_fall2014_thanksgivingmocktails9_wm

Time to Mix!

The Martinelli’s on its own is too sweet for my taste and adding these simple syrups would create a drink that would make my teeth hurt, so I always start by cutting the cider 50-50 with seltzer water. I would suggest you do that, or, if you’re the drinking type, take our suggestion and add vodka.

  • 1 part sparkling cider
  • 1 part seltzer water
  • 1 Tbsp simple syrup
  • rosemary, fresh cranberries, and crystallized ginger for garnish

Place all ingredients except the garnish in your glass and  give it a gentle stir.

liveseasoned_fall2014_thanksgivingmocktails3_wm

I think my favorite part is coming up with the garnishes! Is professional garnish-er a job? If so, I’m available for your next party. A note about buying the ginger: I never keep crystallized ginger on hand, because it always seems to dry out and get hard before I have a chance to use it. Instead, I buy only what I need for any recipe from the bulk foods section of the grocery store. On this particular day I only bought 8 or 9 pieces; considering my love for buying in bulk, this seems silly, but it’s always so nice having fresh and soft crystallized ginger for a recipe.

In the ginger-rosemary drink I used a sprig of rosemary. It matched the flavor of the drink, and the green and gold combination looked beautiful. My rosemary stems were a bit flimsy, but if your rosemary stems are firm, use them to skewer some of the cranberries and ginger.

liveseasoned_fall2014_thanksgivingmocktails2_wm

For the cranberry drink I put a couple of cranberries and a piece of crystallized ginger on a toothpick. Even though there’s no ginger in the drink, the sparkling gold candy looked so pretty on top of the red berries. Don’t you think?

liveseasoned_fall2014_thanksgivingmocktails1_wm
 
liveseasoned_fall2014_thanksgivingmocktails7_wm

Of course, even if you don’t have time to mix up these syrups, just adding a bit of garnish to your sparkling cider will make every feel special! Especially if you add something like the sprig of rosemary ~ each time your guests take a sip of cider they’ll get an added bonus with the rosemary aroma.

liveseasoned_fall2014_thanksgivingmocktails4_wm

 



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

Lemongrass Mint Iced Tea

Mint is our ingredient of the season. We’ve used it in a variety of drinks, both alcoholic to non-alcoholic, salads, and body scrubs.

Today we’re sharing an amazingly simple and delicious herbal iced tea that’s the perfect addition to any summer spread. This pairing of lemongrass and mint is something I’ve carried around with me for years, only getting the urge to mix up a batch on the hottest of summer days, just like the first time I had it.

liveseasoned_summer2014_lemongrassmint5_wm

Continue reading

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

Watermelon Mojito!

Mint is our ingredient of the season. We’re cutting mint every day for our afternoon agua fresca and evening drinks, adding some to salads, and even taking it into the shower!

 

Remember when I promised a use for Tuesday’s leftover watermelon mint salad? Hands up if you guessed mojitos! Today’s drink couldn’t be easier to make (or drink), especially if you have your watermelon cut up into nice little cubes.

liveseasoned_summer2014_watermelonmojito

Ingredients for One

  • ~ 10 mint leaves
  • 1 Tbsp white sugar
  • 1/4 lime
  • 1/2 cup cubed watermelon mint salad
  • 1 1/2 ounces rum
  • ice
  • seltzer water

liveseasoned_summer2014_watermelonmojito2

Instructions

  • Place the sugar and mint leaves in the bottom of your glass and muddle them, bruising the mint leaves.
  • Squeeze the lime wedge into your glass and include the rind.
  • Add the cubed watermelon. Muddle the ingredients again, making sure to fully smash the watermelon (you could also puree the watermelon in a blender).
  • Fill your glass about 2/3 full with ice. Add the rum and water.
  • Give your glass a good stir and enjoy!

liveseasoned_summer2014_watermelonmojito3

Extras

  • I reduced the sugar in this mojito because our watermelon was so sweet. Feel free to up it to 1.5 or 2 tablespoons.
  • If you want to get fancy, garnish with a watermelon wedge. ooh la la
Share on FacebookPin on PinterestShare on TumblrTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone