Pink Moscato SangriaI hope everyone is busy planning their Mother’s Day festivities! Whether your the lady being celebrated, or are lucky enough to be celebrating with your mom this year – I think there’s one thing most ladies in your life could use: a lovely cocktail that includes lots of fresh berries this Mother’s Day! One of my favorite wines to drink in the summer months are Moscatos – and I’ve been seeing more and more of them pop up on the shelves these days. They are light and fruity, and if they’re good  - not to sweet.

One of my favorites is Bello Boy, a Moscato infused with rose petals to give it a distinct flavor, and a gorgeous shade of rose. It’s delicious, light & complex at the same time. The man behind it is Jaime Laurita, a well-known chef who’s worked with many notable people and artists in his culinary career. Incidentally, he also happens to be of the Real Housewives of New Jersey’s Laurita crew, which I’ve made no secret is a guilty pleasure. He’s got a couple bubbly wines under his label now, as well as some other wonderful Italian products – top notch olive oils and dried pastas to name a few.

The sangria comes together in a snap, and just gets better as it sits and the flavors mingle. I went with a berry theme – choosing strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries. But really, any combo of fruit would be wonderful. Looking forward to fresh peaches from the orchard down the street, they’ll be a wonderful addition.

And to celebrate Mother’s Day, I thought it would be fun to have a giveaway! For the past couple months or so, I’ve totally been crushing on the folks over at Hen House Linens. They’re based right here in Maryland, and their selection of fun, colorful prints is out of this world. Any fellow food bloggers will know what I mean when I say “kid in a candy store”. They’ve been so kind to offer an adorable cocktail apron to one lucky winner. All you need to do is comment below answering the question: What are your plans for this Mother’s Day weekend? I’m looking forward to spending time with all my guys. And on Sunday, our first taste of crabs for the year at The Red Roost with my parents. It’s become our Mother’s Day tradition. You have to take a 2-car ferry to get there – the boys just love it, and so do we!Hen House LinensWant a couple of extra entries?:

Like Hen House Linens on Facebook – leave a separate comment letting us know you did so.
Like Bello Boy Moscato on Facebook – leave a separate comment letting us know you did so.

Contest will end Thursday, May 16 2012 @ 11:59 PM EST. Winner will be selected using a random number generator.

Congratulations to Entrant #2 – Diana. Thanks so much for entering, everyone!

Disclaimer: I received Bello Boy Moscato and Hen House linens to review at no cost. As always, all opinions are my own.

Grapefruit CrushI’ve made mention of the Orange Crushes that are a favorite of our Delmarva beaches. But, have you ever heard of the grapefruit crush? It’s exactly like the orange crush. But, you guessed it! You’re using lots of fresh juice from grapefruits – in place of oranges, to get this lovely cocktail.

The good folks at Karlsson’s sent me a bottle of their Gold Vodka to try. Ya’ll know me – I’m not one to turn down a bottle of booze! The minute I opened the bottle and gave it a whiff, I was impressed. While most vodkas don’t smell or taste like much of anything – this had all kind of floral notes going on. That’s probably because it’s made by a single distillation and is unfiltered – a rarity among vodkas of today. What also sets them apart is that they only use baby new potatoes, of several Swedish varieties in the mash process. This leads to a vodka with plenty of great flavor – I mentioned the floral notes, but also fresh herbs, and grapefruit. Highly recommended!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! We’re looking forward to the Salisbury Festival here, a local event that’s held annually. I’ll be at Parker Place selling cupcakes, for any of you locals out and about! Stop by and say hello. Don’t forget to enter the Magimix Giveaway if you haven’t done so already. Winner will be chosen Monday morning!

Strawberry Daiquiri Cupcakes

My friend Shelly is getting married in June, and she’s chosen a beach themed wedding. She wanted something fun, fruity, and beachy – and thought a strawberry daiquiri cupcake sounded like a good contender for her cupcake lineup. I went to work in the kitchen, and this are what I ended up with. The ones we make for her big day will be much more subdued – with more natural looking decorations. But, I couldn’t help gussying them up with a cute cocktail umbrella. Can you blame me?

So, it’s a strawberry daiquiri cupcake – which is a vanilla cupcake that I spiked with some homemade strawberry daiquiri mix, and a glug of rum. They turned out moist and delicious. I then topped them with a rum buttercream – which was the absolutely perfect addition. Frostings are so much fun, there’s always a fun new flavor to create and experiment with! I used rum extract, as well as a little of the “hard stuff” to flavor the frosting, and I think it was a nice balance.

Just looking at them makes me want the beach! Another month or so, and we’ll be taking a batch of these cupcakes to the sandbar (via boat!) to share with our friends. Come on summer!

Strawberry Daiquiri MixStrawberries. Ice. Rum. What’s not to love in a strawberry daiquiri? Pre-bottled mixes, that’s what. As with the margarita, and every other libation known to man – I’ve found that drinks are always better when made from fresh ingredients right in your own home!

My girlfriend is getting married in June, and requested strawberry daiquiri cupcakes for her beach wedding (recipe is coming Friday!). I found a couple of recipes that looked promising, but they all used fresh strawberries in addition to a store-bought mixer. I decided to take matters into my own hands, strike two birds with one stone, actually have fresh pureed strawberries IN the mix. It’s pretty much a glorified strawberry simple syrup – but it’s wonderful! Great when blended with ice for a strawberry daiquiri, on top of ice cream, or a little bit in your glass of lemonade will turn it a gorgeous hue of pink.