Happy New Years Eve! In light of the holiday, and the copious amounts of cranberries I still have leftover from Cape Cod Select’s Holiday Recipe Blogger Challenge – I thought it only appropriate to share a cocktail this evening.

Fruit crushes are kind of synonymous with the Eastern Shore, we’ll take any fruit – muddle it with vodka – add a little seltzer – and call it a day. While they’re very popular in the summertime months, I really feel like the best time for them is in the winter – when citrus is at it’s peak.

I made a cranberry syrup by simmering some frozen cranberries, some sugar, and water on the stove. The cranberries will burst open and soften to a lovely consistency form a lovely chunky syrup. Syrup can be refrigerated for up to a week, which is handy.

The syrup is then combined with vodka (word to Tito’s, my go-to favorite), a splash of Triple Sec , a squeeze of fresh orange juice, and a splash of seltzer. And served over ice. A great way to keep the sparkle of the holidays burning a little longer while you have those cranberries to use up!

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy New Year! Best wishes to all in the coming year.

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Disclaimer: I was provided with samples of Cape Cod Select’s cranberries, but as always – all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Iced Coffee Tonic

The dog days of summer haven’t hit us yet, but I wanted to be prepared when they do. My friend and coffee roaster Kristen, down at Eastern Shore Coastal Roasting Company, had made us these refreshing concotions after a long day on the road – literally all over the Eastern Shore. It was for a farm tour hosted by the good people at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station. Last year they had their first Serving Up The Shore event, and it was a great success. Local farmers and producers donate an array of items, and local chefs donate their time. Last year I attended, and have anxiously been awaiting this year…

Imagine my surprise when the folks at the Field Station asked me to come and prepare the salad course! I’m excited, and a little nervous – but I think we’ll have great fun! It’s really an honor to be in the kitchen with the chefs and farmers/producers they have lined up…go buy your tickets!

Anywho, I’ve long been a fan of ESCR and their coffees. So to get to know Kristen and Jamie, and to have them take the time to show us a roast from start to finish – was just such a treat! And then, to end it all with an amazing treat like this iced coffee tonic – well, that was just the icing on the cake for the day! If you’re local, look for their coffees at Poseidon’s Pantry as well as Wine, Cheese & More (downtown) here on the island,

Kristen used their Marsh Mud cold-brew blend, which is phenom. But whatever your favorite method or brand for cold brew is will be fine. Look for a post on that here soon! So, about 3/4 parts cold brew to 1/4 cup tonic or seltzer. I kind of liked the slight “twang” that the tonic water lent, but have since made it with seltzer and it was equally delightful.

A little sugar or simple syrup. And maybe a splash of half & half, if that’s your thing. I’ve also added a splash of coconut milk, and it was absolute perfection! Garnish with some sort of herbacious sprig – we used rosemary, and really enjoyed that little herbal note lingering in the background.

The perfect summer sipper to put a little pep in your step during these warmer months!

Source: I get by with a little help from my friends at ESCR. Thanks, guys!

Mexican Chocolate Eggnog

Eggnog is always something that everyone looks forward to at the holidays. As much as I’m ashamed to admit it, I’d never made a homemade version. So when Maker’s Mark asked me to come up with an eggnog recipe for their #GetCozyCocktail challenge, I couldn’t resist taking the opportunity to do so!

I wanted to go the traditional route, as far as construction was concerned…but mix things up a little bit when it came to the flavor profile. I’ve always loved the rich and earthy notes of Mexican chocolate, which is flavored with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg. And, usually a little bit of heat from cayenne to warm things up. It translated very well to eggnog!

Thick, chocolaty, frothy, and boozy…the spices meld beautifully with the bold flavor of the bourbon. It makes a relatively large batch, which is perfect for a party. But like most things in life, eggnog only improves with age. Some people swear by aging the stuff for up to a year!

I won’t go that far…but to make a batch now, to enjoy on Christmas Eve seems plausible. Not to mention the fact that it would make an awesome little “thank you” gift for a hostess or neighbor. Served in a jar simply decorated with a tag and a festive ribbon…come on, who wouldn’t be delighted to receive that?

Head on over to Maker’s Mark Instagram page and vote for my recipe by commenting and/or liking it, starting tomorrow through December 17th.  Then get to making the nog…after all, ’tis the season!

Disclaimer: I was provided with samples from Maker’s Mark. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Blueberry Margaritas

A couple of weeks ago, I took a trip “down the county” with my best friend early on a Saturday morning. Our destination was Mason Beach Fruit Farm, about 45 minutes south of Chincoteague. It was the first time visiting for both of us, but it most definitely won’t be the last.

Blueberry bushes 10 feet tall – acres and acres of them. All the bushes I’ve seen in the past have been scrawny little numbers. But these, they literally created shady groves – so the picking was rather pleasant! It’s situated right on the Chesapeake, so cool breezes were plentiful, which also helps.

I picked about 10 lbs in just under 2 hours. At $1 per pound, you can’t beat the price with a stick. They also had peaches, plums, and early apples available – all for $1/lb as well. At any rate, I had plenty of fresh blueberries I had to use. What better to do with them than make blueberry flavored booze?

blueberries

A couple of pounds went into a home brewed blueberry cream ale. And then, there were these margaritas…

A quick blueberry simple syrup is whipped up, then mixed with traditional margarita components to create this gorgeous cocktail. The flavor of the blueberries really shines through, not to mention the beautiful hue that it leaves the drink with. The syrup is also divine when mixed into lemonade or limeade. But it’s Friday, so tequila is kind of mandatory around here.

Enjoy these gorgeous berries while they are in season where you are. I think I’m going to take one more trip down the road to stock up on some berries for the freezer. I hope everyone has a great weekend!