Cool Down With A Blackberry-Mint Libation

Blackberry-Mint Cocktail | Aprons & Stilettos

It’s hot. Real hot.

This morning I left the South Bay at 4am to head back to Sonoma wine country and when I walked outside I noticed it was surprisingly warm – 67 degrees to be exact. 67 degrees at 4am! I couldn’t believe it. From that moment on I knew it was going to be another hot one in Northern California.

Aprons Herb Garden

When I returned home after work, I spent some time taking care of my herb garden as I was out-of-town all weekend. While I was watering, the aromatic notes of mint, basil, rosemary and lemon balm captivated my thirst for a refreshing patio cocktail. I decided to rummage through my cocktail bar to see what concoction I could whip up in order to satisfy my craving. Using the ingredients I had on hand, I composed this easy to make and delightfully refreshing gin-blackberry-mint cocktail. The sweet, tart, and slightly bitter flavors in the berries perfectly complemented the mellow and refreshing notes in the mint.

Blackberry-Mint Cocktail | Aprons & Stilettos

Blackberry-Mint Libation

1 1/2 ounces gin
1 teaspoon agave nectar
Handful of blackberries (4-5)
Handful of fresh mint (4-5 leaves…depending in how “minty” you like it)
1/2 lime, freshly juiced
Soda water, float
Ice
Cocktail shaker

Muddle the blackberries, mint and gin in a cocktail shaker. Add ice, nectar and lime juice. Shake and strain in a glass filled with ice. Float with soda water and garnish with a mint sprig.

 

Looking for more herb-inspired cocktails? Check out:

 

Which cocktails are you enjoying as the weather heats up? Share with us on twitter @ApronsStilettos. ~Cheers, Crystal

2 Gingers | Irish Whiskey Cocktails

Irish Whiskey Jack Rose

Last Friday I swung by my local wine & spirits shop, Bottle Barn, to find inspiration for my next cocktail. Since today is St. Patrick’s Day, I knew I wanted to mix something together using Irish Whiskey. Now I’ve had Jameson and Bushmills whiskey before but when I noticed 2 Gingers (obviously marketed to woman) I couldn’t help but give it a try for today’s post. As I was getting ready to leave a friendly woman, with a hot pink wig on, greeted me and asked me if I had my Irish Whiskey for St. Patrick’s Day…I said yes then noticed she was a rep for 2 Gingers and I showed her the whiskey in my basket. We laughed, she gave me some free swag then I was on my home to mix up some tasty libations.

Cocktail Ingredients 2 Gingers

Friday brought 80 degree weather to Northern California so it was the perfect day to mix up some cocktails. Since it was such a nice day, I wanted to create a drink that showcased the great structure whiskey brings to cocktails but with a light and refreshing twist. The Whiskey Ginger is a great cocktail for even the non-whiskey drinker!

2 Gingers Cocktail

Whiskey Ginger

  • 2 ounces 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 orange, juiced
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 2 – 3 dashes orange bitters
  • Fill with Ginger Ale or Ginger Beer
  • Garnish with lime wheel

Combine whiskey, orange juice and lime juice in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a rocks glass filled with ice. Add bitters and fill with ginger ale or ginger beer. Garnish with a lime wheel.

Jack Rose Cocktail

The next cocktail is more complex with a slightly sweet finish and incorporates both Irish whiskey and brandy.

Irish Jack Rose

  • 1 ounce 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey
  • 1/2 ounce Korbel Brandy
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1/2 ounce pomegranate syrup
  • Garnish with lime wedge

Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Share with us your favorite St. Patty’s cocktails in the comments below or on twitter at @ApronsStilettos

~Cheers, Crystal

Safari Themed Baby Shower

Giraffe CakeIn the beginning of December my sister’s best friend, Christina, and I threw a baby shower for my sister Sarah. Several years ago my sister, grandmother and I departed on an adventure throughout East Africa so right away we knew what the theme should be! Not to mention my sister’s affinity for giraffes. So it was set – now let the planning begin!

TABLE SETTING

The color palette we chose for the majority of our decorations were browns, greens, yellows, and blues. So let’s start at the table.

Congrats Sign

Safari Baby Shower Table

The table runners were made by my friend & co-worker Kim who purchased the fabric from a local fabric shop. For the center pieces, I purchased several large and small mason jars, wrapped them in burlap and finished it with a twine bow. The flowers were a combinations of green Poms, Hydrangeas, Birds of Paradise and Eucalyptus from our backyard. The plates, napkins, cutlery, table cloths and premium stemware were purchased online from PartyCity.com.

Baby Shower Center Piece

FAVORS

As a takeaway for our guests, we had a 187ml bottle of Kenwood Vineyards Yulupa Sparkling wine wrapped in a burlap bag with a tag that read:

Capture1Additionally, we had these adorable (and delicious!) giraffe cookies made by Trisha Thomas who owns Dessert Divas in Sacramento.

Dessert Diva Cookies

MENU

1454680_10101160479112657_640340608_nQuiche Lorraine • Mushroom Spinach Quiche

Parmesan & Cranberry Salad • Fruit Salad • Assorted Muffins

Assorted Cheeses • Giraffe Cake • Safari Cake Pops

Cucumber Water • Jungle Juice (Pomegranate / Cranberry Punch)

Safari Table SettingTo save on time (as we had a lot to do in terms of decorating and last-minute crafts), we ordered the quiche from Whole Foods catering and picked up the fruit salad, muffins and cheese from the local market.

Parmesan & Cranberry Salad with Peach Vinaigrette

  • 8 cups mixed greens
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup shaved Parmesan cheese
  • Toasted walnuts
  • 2/3 cup peach nectar
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • pinch of salt

This recipe yields 6 – 8 servings so I tripled it for the shower. To make the vinaigrette, mix together the peach nectar, vinegar, mustard, and salt in a large bowl. Slowly add in the oil whisking constantly. Add the cranberries and toasted walnuts to the mixed greens and toss well with vinaigrette. Garnish with the Parmesan cheese. The original recipe, adapted from Sandra Lee, calls for Pear Nectar but I swapped it our for peach and I also added in the walnuts to give it some crunch!

Punch & Water

Jungle Juice Punch (Cranberry, Pomegranate & Tangerine)

  • 5 cups cranberry juice
  • 3 cups tangerine juice
  • 2 cups pomegranate juice
  • 1 liter soda water
  • Fresh cranberries, for garnish

This was a huge hit at the party and it was so easy to make. In a large punch bowl combine the cranberry, tangerine and pomegranate juice. Top with soda water and garnish with fresh cranberries. (Variation: swap out the soda water for sparkling wine to give it an adult kick!)

Cake Pop For Parties

For dessert we had these adorable safari cake pops, made by our dear friend Lisa and this amazing raspberry marble (chocolate marble cake layered with chocolate ganache, vanilla buttercream, and fresh raspberries) giraffe cake made by Diana Katra, Cake Whimsy in Campbell.

Giraffe Cake | Aprons & Stilettos

While my sister was opening presents, we played baby bingo! These cards were so easy to make in Photoshop (or InDesign). If you don’t have the time to design your own baby bingo cards, you can find an array of adorable cards for purchase on Etsy.

Baby Bingo

My sister is due any day now so we’re just waiting around for the call! This will be her first, my parents first grandchild and my first time being an Auntie! I can’t wait! Cheers! ~Crystal

Table Setting