We need good cocktails more than ever, y’all. Ive been going through my fair share of vodka – and crushes will always be my favorite way to put it to good use.

Orange Crushes are the gold standard, and probably the first thing that folks think of when someone mentions crushes. But honey, I’ve done crushed every fruit under the sun. Grapefruit, strawberry, watermelon, cantaloupe, coconut, lemon – I even wrote an article about my love for them in Chesapeake Bay Magazine last summer!

But in the times we are in, you may not have a plethora of fresh fruit available to turn into cocktails. That’s why I love these Cherry Lime Crushes – because I’ll usually have all the ingredients on hand. And, thats awful handy these days.

We are looking forward to some warm temperatures and sunshine this weekend here on our little island, I hope that you all get a taste of it too wherever you may be. And also, these crushes. Stay safe, friends!

Cherry Lime Crush

2 oz vodka
1 oz triple sec
1 oz marashino cherry juice
juice of 2 limes
splash of lemon-lime soda
ice
marashino cherries, for garnish
lime slices, for garnish

Pour all ingredients into cocktail mixer and shake.

Strain into a cocktail glasses filled with ice.

Garnish with a slice of lime and a cherry.

Makes 2 cocktails.

Red Currant Mojitos

Last weekend I ran down to Virginia Beach. Had to exchange a Christmas gift, and do a bit of pantry restocking. Got the chance to visit the new Ikea – I had my youngest with me and he chose the Swedish Meatball lunch over chicken nuggets at Chic-fil-A. Winning as a parent, y’all. For real real.

Stopped by all the usual suspects of my food shopping spots, although now it’s harder because we also have a Wegmans – Hampton Roads has really been stepping it up lately. Anywho, I can never resist getting something that I don’t see very often when I’m down there. Last time it was Buddha’s Hand (I made an ahhhhmazing infused vodka), this time I saw fresh red currants and couldn’t pass them up!

Usually I’ll bake with them, or just use them for garnishes on things because they’re so darned pretty. Since trying to get back on the blogging bandwagon, I’ve been going through and looking at what I haven’t posted in a while – and one of those things was a cocktail…

I just so happened to have a handle of Bacardi that needs has been hanging around in the liquor cabinet (word to Robin at VA ABC who pointed out I could get a handle for the same price as a liter during a sale last year). So I thought, why not?

I love adding different fruits to my fav cocktails to make a new twist on an old favorite, and the currants certainly didn’t disappoint. They added the most gorgeous red hue to the drink, and added a lovely hint of tartness. I don’t like my drinks super-sweet, but if you do – feel free to add more simple syrup. Which is great in itself, actually. A splash of that in seltzer water is delicious, and waaay less sugar than a soda.

And if you can’t find red currants – you could use raspberries or blackberries. Or just keep it simple, as a traditional mojito with the lime and fresh mint. In any form, it’s sure to add a little brightness to a dreary winter’s day. Have a great weekend, everyone!

Winter has arrived in Westeros, and I don’t know about you guys – but I can’t wait to see where this final season takes us. While our clan has pledged our allegiance to the King in the North, I can’t help but have some form of love for the golden House of Lannister. So, to kick off the last and final episodes, I wanted to share a Game of Thrones inspired cocktail, in their honor.

I think you’ll find that this saffron spiked lemonade is just like the fair-haired family of Casterly Rock. Golden and sweet on the outside, equal parts sneaky and sultry just below the surface – but at the core, sinister at heart.

I know saffron is kind of a splurge. But, it’s great to have around in your spice cabinet – both for it’s subtle and unique flavor, as well as the rich yellow hue that it brings to the table. Also, cost be damned – a Lannister doesn’t worry about trivial things like price per ounce!

A basic simple syrup is infused and steeped with  with the red strands, then combined with freshly squeezed lemon juice and sparkling water, and a splash of vodka of course. It has been known to put the Queen Cersei into a golden haze on occasion, but lest she not forget: The North Remembers.

And, the time has finally come for the Lannister’s pay their debts.

Another Friday, another crush. The sun has gone into hiding again, and it’s been raining all day. And I have a child with chicken pox (wtf, right?). And we still haven’t been out on the boat yet. Needless to say, I wasn’t feeling a sunny and fruity drink on this #CrushFridayVA. So, I kind of stepped out of the box for this week’s cocktail.

A simple syrup is infused with heady kick of fresh ginger flavor after a short steeping period. Which is then combined with freshly squeezed lemon juice, vodka, a splash of triple sec, and a bit of bubbly in the form of some ginger ale to round out the flavor.

It’s something different for this rainy evening we’re having here on the island. Little league games are already cancelled tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to a lazy morning with my guys. Hope everyone has a great weekend!