Tag Archives: drink

Do-It-Yourself Instant Cocoa Mix

I am about to take you on a fun-filled, wondrous adventure to a magical land called filled with flavor and delicious delights and that ever-so-sumptuous food of the gods.

That’s right, we’re going to make hot cocoa.

Photo Nov 24, 11 23 26 PM

Don’t say it.  Don’t tell me that you make hot chocolate all the time–“All you have to do is open the packet of Swiss Miss and add hot water.”  That’s not making hot cocoa.  That’s just barely making it through the day and being willing to settle for something, anything with a mere wisp of chocolate in it before you go insane and take somebody with you.

Now, while I am a fan of melting down shaved chocolate into a pool of lightly simmering, frothy milk in the celebrated winter ritual that is settling down with a piping hot cup of hot chocolate whilst mentally praising those brilliant Mayans, sometimes you don’t want to spend the time, effort or money to do that and sometimes you’re at work, mentally (or physically—although in that case, you have more serious problems than chocolate-deficiency) to a desk, or snowed in at home behind 2 feet of frozen little water pellets.  In those cases, you want–nay, you need–instant cocoa.

Photo Nov 24, 11 23 37 PM

But that doesn’t mean you should rush headlong into the arms of the Swiss Miss.  Not to impugn her honor or anything, but I hear she really gets around.  You deserve someone more special than that.  Someone unique and hand-crafted.  And I am love to play matchmaker.  Well, me and Alton Brown.

Alton Brown’s Hot Cocoa

* 2 cups powdered sugar
* 1 cup cocoa (Dutch-process preferred)
* 2 1/2 cups powdered milk
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons cornstarch
* Hot water

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and incorporate evenly.  Seal in an airtight container, keeps indefinitely in the pantry.

To make hot cocoa, fill half a mug with the cocoa mixture and then pour in hot water or milk.  Stir, sip, smile.

If you want to make it even more betterer (yes, that’s right, even more betterer), you can make some snickerdoodles to dip into your cocoa.

Semifreddo Bellini

Semifreddo Bellini

I didn’t post a recipe for last week’s Champagne Wednesday because I was in Boston for a conference at the time.  I did get to celebrate Champagne Wednesday at L’Espalier, an awesome modernist restaurant in the Back Bay area, where we were staying.  They had a French Kiss cocktail on the menu and it just happened to be Wednesday, so I assumed it was fate.  Delicious, delicious fate.

Semifreddo Bellini

I almost decided on a green tea champagne cocktail for this week but that meant buying and preparing matcha tea in advance and…well, I got lazy.  So we’ll save that one for next week.  This week, we’re going to hold on to summer as much as we can (omg it’s August already) and celebrate with a popsicle in a glass: a semifreddo bellini.

Semifreddo means “half cold” in Italian.  It’s also the name given to a delicious, easy dessert and thanks to Martha Stewart, a sweet slushy version of the traditional bellini cocktail.  Her recipe blends frozen peaches, peach schnapps, champagne, superfine sugar and ice together, making a total of two cocktails.  Or one big cocktail if you’ve had that kind of day.  Hey, there’s no judgment here.  You do what you got to.

Semifreddo Bellini

Anyway, I can tell you the changes I’m probably going to make for this recipe myself: I think I’ll swap out the schnapps for cointreau, because I don’t have schnapps and I don’t want to buy schnapps but I do have cointreau and I think the orange-peach combination will be nice.  I’m also probably going to add in the leaves from a sprig or two of thyme, because my herbs are going insane.  Most likely I’ll muddle the time in with the sugar first before adding it all to the blender.  Hey, Champagne Wednesday is all about making a cocktail your own.  And then drinking it.  Because the best way to claim something is to eat it.

Get Martha Stewart’s Semifreddo Bellini recipe.

Semifreddo Bellini

Lauren's Semifreddo Bellini


  • 1 cup frozen peaches
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1/4 cup Cointreau
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sparkling wine


  1. Put the peaches, thyme, sugar, ice cubes, cointreau and the two tablespoons of sparkling wine into a blender and puree until smooth.
  2. Divide into two glasses and top each with half of the remaining champagne. Enjoy!

Watermelon Champagne Cocktail

Watermelon Champagne Cocktail

You remember how Champagne Wednesday works: each week, we try a different champagne cocktail to liven up the most boring day of the week.  I post the recipe we’re going to try at the beginning of the week, you make it (or your version of it) Wednesday (or as soon as you’re able) and then we all live happily ever after.  Oh, and I’ll update the version I use by Thursday afternoon.

This week, we’re going to take one of my favorite things and pair it with another of my favorite things: watermelon and booze.  We’ll use this recipe from Fabulous Fête, which includes some gorgeous pictures, if I do say so myself.  All you need are : fresh watermelon, fresh mint, lemonade and your favorite champagne or sparkling wine.

Watermelon Champagne Cocktail recipe from Fabulous Fête

I made this tonight and it was pretty fabulous, although I did my own twist on the recipe.  It’d be a great brunch drink too, I think, if you start to tire of mimosas.

Watermelon Champagne Cocktail

Yield: 2 cocktails


  • 2 cups fresh, chopped watermelon
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2-4 large mint leaves
  • 1 187-ml bottle of sparkling wine
  • ice
  • sugar for the rim


  1. Put the watermelon, lime juice and mint in a blender and blend until smooth.
  2. Put a few tablespoons of sugar on a plate. Wet the rim of two wine glasses with water and then press the rims down into the sugar until it sticks. Carefully add a few cubes of ice to the glass.
  3. Fill each glass halfway with the watermelon puree. Then fill the rest with sparkling wine.
  4. Enjoy!

Blackberry Basil Crush

This week’s cocktail: Blackberry Basil Crush

Vodka, blackberries, basil, syrup…what’s not to love?  I love the blog Santa Barbara Chic for three main reasons: colorful photography, delicious recipes, and because Santa Barbara makes me think of one of my favorite shows of all time: Psych.  You know that’s right.

Anyway, because I am a fan of delicious flavor, I’ve settled on this Blackberry Basil Crush for this week’s cocktail, replacing the “splash” of club soda with a “splash…or four” of your favorite sparkling wine.  Further, feel free to mix up and make your own version of the recipe, too; experimentation is always encouraged here, so long as it doesn’t incur any terrible catastrophic results, like massive plagues, weapons of mass destruction or casu marzu (which is a real thing).

Speaking of experimentation, I’m still thinking about the idea of olive oil in cocktails.  Does it work?

I dunno.  I’ll ponder it over a nice cocktail….

Get the Blackberry Basil Crush Recipe from Santa Barbara Chic

Black Velvet Cocktail

This Week’s Cocktail: Black Velvet

Imagine: Mississippi.  In the middle of a dry spell.  Maybe….Jimmy Rogers on the vitrola up high.  Perhaps Mama’s dancing with a baby on her shoulder.  The sun setting like molasses in the sky.

This drink can sing, knows how to move,everything.  Always wanting more, it’ll leave you longing for….

…wait for it…

….black velvet!

(Those of you that don’t get this reference make me a little sad.)

Last week’s Champagne Wednesday, the French Kisses, went over splendidly.  It was like a flavor explosion in every glass.  This week, we’re trying something a little daring.  No idea if it’ll be good or not.  But that’s why we experiment.  To separate the drinks from the DRINKS.  This week’s cocktail comes via The Cocktail Guide and it’s very simple, just two ingredients: stout and champagne.

I don’t know whose idea it was to combine beer and champagne but I imagine they are interesting people.

Black Velvet Cocktail

Update: my estimation of the cocktail was that it was a beautiful cocktail but mostly just tastes like sweet, extra bubbly stout.  Your thoughts?


Black Velvet


  • Champagne : 3 oz
  • Stout : 3 oz


  1. Fill a champagne flute half full with a high quality, cold stout. Fill the rest of the glass with champagne. Enjoy!

Find more tips on this cocktail at The Cocktail Guide.

A version of Jim's version of the French Kiss

Champagne Wednesday: Six French Kisses

The esteemed gentleman, Jim No Last Name Needed, who often inspires many of the choices for this illustrious weekly event–event? nay, affair–suggested yet another fantastic combination of life-giving liquors, dream-inducing syrups and tantalizing bubbles for this week’s cocktail when he forwarded the following image:

French kiss

Of course what this otherwise seemingly perfect photo lacked was ratios.  How much gin?  How much juice?  I bet Snoop Lion knows but I didn’t.  So I took to the final arbiter of all things: the Internet.  A quick Google search, though, revealed a number of French Kiss recipes.  Apparently the French do a lot of kissing.

So I decided right then and there that we needed to

Make all the cocktails

So for this week’s Champagne Cocktail, feel free to make one (if you’re a lightweight), two (if you’re average) or all six (if you’re fun-loving but a bit of a lush) cocktails and pick your favorite.

The Line Up:

1. Jim’s version of the French Kiss from whatever restaurant he was sending me pics from.  Pick your own ratios: gin, lemon juice, simple syrup, raspberries, sparkling wine.
2. Pegu Club’s French Kiss: gin, simple syrup, pernod, lime juice and mint (add sparkling wine!)
3. Drink Mixer’s French Kiss: vodka, raspberry liqueur, Grand Marnier, whipping cream (add some sparkling wine!)
4. Serious Eat’s French Kiss: vermouth, vermouth and lemon peel.  No, seriously. (add sparkling wine?)
5. Chris Kelly’s French Kiss: cointreau, raspberry Absolut, lime juice, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, sparkling wine
6. Greg Guzelian’s French Kiss: vodka, peach schnapps, chambord, pineapple juice, cranberry juice, (add sparkling wine!)

There you go….happy cocktails!


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This Week’s Cocktail: Red Grape & Coconut

This cocktail sounded like something new and interesting.  I mean, most champagne cocktails have flavors like ginger, mint, lime, berries or citrus.  This one had coconut!  And grapes!  And vodka.  Vodka’s not a flavor, really, but it is vodka.

However, I have to say, I wasn’t a huge fan.  It just tasted like champagne with more champagne.  I was a little disappointed.  If someone has ideas for improving the flavor of the basic cocktail, suggest it.  I will try it and if it is indeed amazing, or at least improved, I will name a marshmallow after you.  Seriously.

But if you’re interested in trying something out, the recipe is below.

grape-coconut cocktail

Get the recipe for the Red Grape & Coconut Refersher at Food & Wine magazine.


Frizzante Cucumber Caipirinha

Champagne Wednesday: Cucumber Caipirinha

Caipirinha is the national cocktail of Brazil, and I can see why.  It’s freaking delicious and refreshing.  Traditionally it’s made with cachaça (a sugar cane-derived liquor), sugar and lime.  For this week’s Champagne Wednesday, we used a derivative recipe from Cookie and Kate that uses white rum and adds slices of cucumber, as well as club soda.  Being that this is Champagne Wednesday, we further substituted sparkling wine for the club soda.  So what we really have here is a derivative of a derivative.  Which equals…I’m not really sure.  I was told there would be no math.

[fancy_link color=”black” link=”http://cookieandkate.com/2011/cucumber-cocktails/”]Cucumber Caipirinha from Cookie and Kate[/fancy_link]

Frizzante Cucumber Caipirinha

Sex in a Hot Tub

Champagne Wednesday: Sex in a Hot Tub

Sex in a Hot Tub

There are two words to describe this cocktail: freaking. delicious.

Not only is today Champagne Wednesday, but it’s also Paul’s birthday (happy birthday Paul!) so we got to include today’s cocktail in our celebrations.  I’m glad because it was really good.

It’s got everything you could possibly want in a glass: chambord, cointreau, vodka, champagne and a splash of juice for um…well, garnish, really.  :) Continue reading

mojito frizzante

Champagne Wednesday: Frizzante Mojito

mojito frizzante

This week’s cocktail is definitely my favorite thus far, and not just because I’m a huge fan of mojitos.  It was also one of those Wednesdays that really, really called for a drink.  I can’t wait til summer because this is going to be a perfect “sit outside on a sunny patio” kind of drink.

This fizzy mojito is a combination of the usual ingredients (lime juice, simple syrup, mint, rum), it also includes a dash of bitters and some sparkling wine.  Because I was lazy and/or out of some ingredients, I subbed just a sprinkling of sugar for the syrup, which worked, and did a mixture of dark and coconut rum, which really worked.

You can find the original recipe here on Martha Stewart.com.

Remember, life is better bubbly.  And happy new year!

Champagne Wednesday: Hibiscus Punch

hibiscus cocktail

Photo by Isha Dusseau

This week’s bubbly celebration of life comes to you from my friend Isha.  “Isha” is ancient Egyptian for “amazing, awesome and ridiculously beautiful.”  That might not be technically true.  But it’s a general translation.

Anyway, Isha made a fun, beautiful cocktail that she describes as being, and I quote, “holy sh– delicious.”  Apparently the flower tastes like rhubarb berry pie.  That alone is worth a trip to your local S-Mart to pick one up (remember, shop smart.  Shop S-Mart).  I think this is definitely something you want to make to impress your friends on New Year’s Eve. Continue reading

Champagne Wednesday: Berry Punch with Clementine Simple Syrup and a Satsuma Cheese Plate

fresh satsumas and thyme in a wooden bowlWhat I love about winter is that it’s when some of the brightest, cheeriest fruits are available: oranges of all kinds.  And beyond the basic navel, there are other delicious citrusy goodies to be had, like clementines and satsumas.  To be honest, I’ve never really worked with either of them.  Sure, I’ve had the odd clementine now and again, but I was mostly a navel girl.  And satsumas, a variation of mandarin oranges that originated in Japan, were never really on my radar until recently. Continue reading

Champagne Wednesday: A Mango-Ginger Beer Cocktail

mango-ginger cocktailChampagne Wednesday may just be the best idea I’ve ever had that involved champagne.  It’s really a nice little pick-me-up on what is maybe the most “meh” day of the week.  This time, I got inspired by the blood orange sparklers from the lovely gals at We Ae Not Martha.  I didn’t have any blood orange juice available though, so I took a different route with mango juice and orange biggers.  I still ended up at the desired location, though: the corner of Delicious St and Bubbly Avenue. Continue reading

I’m ashamed to say that I think that is only the second headline reference to Spaceballs on this blog.  I’m sorry about that.  I’ll do better.

Anyway, how are you?  How’ve you been, Internet?  Oh, really?  Interesting.  I’d love to hear all about that.  We should get together and you should tell me about it over a nice glass of raspberry soda.  Continue reading

But Why’s the Rum Gone? Chocolate-Mint-Pom Mojito Slushies

That's why the rum's gone

Josh and I took the plunge this past Saturday.  No, we didn’t get married.  Well, we did but that was three years ago.  No, no, this event was almost as important.  We bought a new grill.  It was definitely time.  Our friend Brian helped us drag it home from the store, down the side of I-94…sorry about that traffic backup near Belleville, but we lost one of the wheels and I had to run after and retrieve it.

Just kidding.  We put it in Brian’s truck.  And drove it back.  And we didn’t even take 94.

Anyway, as a thank you to Brian and a celebration of our newest member of the family (what?  I take my grilling very seriously), we had Brian and a couple other friends over for burgers and things.  Josh decided he wanted more mojito slushies at this particular event and I obliged.  Two things made these mojitos even more awesome than the original version.  The first was the substitution of pomegranate juice for the lime.  My dear friends at Pom Wonderful sent me a free case of pomegranate juice.  I love when this happens.  Last time, I made pomegranate barbecue sauce, molasses and pomegranate-braised beef.  This time, I’m making these mojito slushies and…well, a few other things that will be posted later. Continue reading

My Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Yard

I want you to read this next part as if you were William Shatner:

My.  Milkshake brings.  All the boys. To. The. Yard.
And they’re like.  It’s better.  Than yours.
Damn.  Right.  It’s better.  Than yours.
I can.  Teach you.  But I.  Have. To. Charge.

And the charge for this, of course, is that I do actually expect you to read that part above like William Shatner.  Bonus points if you do it out loud.  And then you will have truly earned this milkshake knowledge that I am about to drop on you. Continue reading

Poms Away

I got a delicious shipment in the mail this past week: a case of Pom Wonderful pomegranate juice, from the Pom people themselves.  My challenge?  Use the eight little bottles of liquid pomegranate to come up with something interesting and delicious.

I found this fascinating, as did my friends, many of whom love pomegranate.  Myself, I’d never really experimented with it.  I once purchased a pomegranate to try out, messily cutting it open and excavating the seeds (arils), which I found delicious but then never bought another one.  Still, the fruit somewhat intrigued me, as do most fruits from south Asia.  Plus, they just look so funky.  I’m a sucker for those swanky design spreads where hip decorators have created oh-so-chic-but-simple accents with giant hurricane vases full of fresh pomegranates.  Sure I could never do that because my dog would probably think, “Wow!  Balls!” but that’s not the point.

What is the point?

Barbecue.  Barbecue is always the point.

At least, it was one of the first things that came to mind when I thought, “Gee, what can I do with 64 ounces of pomegranate juice?  Barbecue!”  That particular eureka was followed up with “Cheesecake!” which was a suggestion from a friend during dinner out the other night.  Then another idea: add it to your granola bar recipe.  Mix it with Greek yogurt and marinate chicken.  And oh…imagine the drinks.

Well, the cheesecake, granola bar and chicken kabob recipes will be coming later.  Today we’ll just stick with simple additions you can add to many meals. Continue reading