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.
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.
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
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:
2014, being the year Crystal and I turned 30, made me really want to start taking those small steps to eating healthier. I’ve never been good at diets or cutting out certain foods for long periods of time but I promised myself that I would try “Meatless Monday” and I’ve actually stuck to it. There are many health & environmental pros to giving up meat for one day (so many benefits that it makes it easy to not give in) and it also made my weekly meal planning a little more fun since I had to start getting more creative. So I thought just in case anyone wanted to join, we would share a meatless meal once or twice a month on Mondays. We also encourage you to share your “Meatless Monday” ideas with us in the comments below or with us on twitter at @ApronsStilettos. So far a lot of Mondays have been filled with salads, beans and other sources of protein and I’m never too hard on myself…if I slip up or have a piece of meat that is too good to pass up, I just go meatless the next day. To get started, check out some of our past “Meatless” recipes below. Then next Monday give it a try and let us know how your “Meatless Monday” went!
LIMIT CANCER RISK: Hundreds of studies suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables may reduce cancer risk. Both red and processed meat consumption are associated with colon cancer
REDUCE HEART DISEASE: Recent data from a Harvard University study found that replacing saturated fat-rich foods (for example, meat and full fat dairy) with foods that are rich in polyunsaturated fat (for example, vegetable oils, nuts and seeds) reduces the risk of heart disease by 19%
FIGHT DIABETES: Research suggests that higher consumption of red and processed meat increase the risk of type 2 diabetes
CURB OBESITY: People on low-meat or vegetarian diets have significantly lower body weights and body mass index. A recent study from Imperial College London also found that reducing overall meat consumption can prevent long-term weight gain
LIVE LONGER: Red and processed meat consumption is associated with increases in total mortality, cancer mortality and cardiovascular disease mortality
IMPROVE YOUR DIET. Consuming beans or peas results in higher intakes of fiber, protein, folate, zinc, iron and magnesium with lower intakes of saturated fat and total fat
REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization estimates the meat industry generates nearly one-fifth of the man-made greenhouse gas emissions that are accelerating climate change worldwide . . . far more than transportation. And annual worldwide demand for meat continues to grow. Reining in meat consumption once a week can help slow this trend
MINIMIZE WATER USAGE. The water needs of livestock are tremendous, far above those of vegetables or grains. An estimated 1,800 to 2,500 gallons of water go into a single pound of beef. Soy tofu produced in California requires 220 gallons of water per pound
HELP REDUCE FOSSIL FUEL DEPENDENCE. On average, about 40 calories of fossil fuel energy go into every calorie of feed lot beef in the U.S. Compare this to the 2.2 calories of fossil fuel energy needed to produce one calorie of plant-based protein. Moderating meat consumption is a great way to cut fossil fuel demand
We would love to hear your favorite “Meatless Mondays” recipes!
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.
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 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.
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