It may not be strawberry season for another month or so here in Maryland, but I’ve been seeing some gorgeous California strawberries in my grocery store. While I can’t wait for our local pick-you-own place down the road to open up, I just couldn’t resist picking up a carton. They smelled and looked too good to pass up!

Thanks to Shawnda, Annie, and Josie – I’ve totally become addicted to various fruit margaritas. What’s a girl to do when she’s got some gorgeous strawberries lying around? Mix them up with booze of course! They were out of this world good. I loved the sugar and salt combo on the rim, and the strawberry flavor is just overwhelming. It actually tastes like fresh strawberries. Imagine that!

I’ve made several batches in the past couple weeks, I just can’t get enough of them. Top of my list of favorite margarita so far! The strawberry syrup puree has been very handy to have hanging out in the fridge as well. I’ve used it to make strawberry milk for the boys, as well as make pink lemonade. If you do one thing this weekend, make these margaritas! Cheers.

It’s been a year and a half coming, but AMC’s Mad Men is coming back for Season 5 this Sunday night. To say I’m excited, is, pretty much an understatement. It’s such a wonderful program – the cast, the costuming, the sets. I just love it. I can’t wait to see what our favorite dashing gentleman Don Draper has been up to. And of course my favorite lady, Mrs. Holloway-Harris. How is she, ahem, progressing? All I can say is, I’m thanking my lucky stars that the premiere is 2 hours long!

So, to celebrate the return I wanted to share a retro cocktail. Whiskey sours are probably one of the most beloved mix drinks in existence. I’ve had them before, usually at a party or bar in my younger  years. They were always palatable, but they used the bottled sweet and sour mix, and that’s just not as good. The fresh lemon and lime juice, really sets it apart from the pack. Just enough to make you pucker, but then the sweetness added by the simple syrup rounds it out and brings all the flavors together. And, if you think you don’t like whiskey – give it a try. It’s amazing what lots of fresh citrus juice and sweetness can mask. Have no doubts though, these still have the power to put you on your ass.

I’m making a retro themed menu for Sunday night.  Nothing is set in stone yet, but I’m thinking Swedish meatballs and Pineapple Upside Down Cake. If you’re wondering where I got the flashy cocktail shaker and napkin, I applied to be a host for the Mad Men House Party that AMC was sponsoring, and I got chosen. So, in my party pack were a few Mad Men themed goodies, including the shaker and napkins. Thought they were too cute not to use!

I had a nice healthy post scheduled to share with you today. But, it’s Friday, and I wanted to “throw caution into the wind” (heh, no pun intended) and post this Hurricane recipe. I made a batch of these to celebrate Mardi Gras this past Tuesday, and I loved them. So fruity and delicious, but with a strong punch of rum. It actually uses both light and dark rum, which is kind of dangerous in my opinion.

I went out and bought grenadine for this, but honestly, I think maraschino cherry juice would be better. I think I’ll definitely be tucking this recipe away for the warmer months ahead. I think it would make a great “big kids” punch for a backyard barbecue. It’s been absolutely gorgeous here the past few days, already has me itching to get to the beach. If you’ve been in the same mood as me the past couple of days, don’t wait for summer to make these! Treat yourself to a taste of it this weekend, and make this wonderful cocktail!

There aren’t too many good things I can say for this time of the year. We’re still got a few more weeks of winter left, and cabin fever set in 2 months ago. One thing that always brightens  my spirits is the abundance of gorgeous citrus fruits. Even out here on the Eastern Shore, in my local mega-mart, I have been able to find prized citrus varieties like meyer lemons and blood oranges. Now, that not may seem like a big deal to most of you “city slickers”, but when I find specialty items like this in the store it’s all I can do to contain my excitement. I usually buy several bags to enjoy for the next couple weeks, then what I don’t use – I’ll juice and freeze for use throughout the year.

Another thing that brightens my spirits this time of year (well, ALL times of year, actually) is booze! While I’ve been enjoying lots of great home brew, courtesy of the Mister, I’ve been enjoying the occasional margarita here and there too. It’s so much fun to play with the flavor profiles of margaritas, with whatever fruits are in season. When I saw a blood orange margarita pop up on Shawnda’s site (the Queen of flavored margs!), it was love at first sight. Blood oranges are more orange-y than their Navel cousin, so I knew the flavor had to be divine. And, the color. That deep, dark red is just to die for!

The first night I made them, I made them for just myself, and they went down far too easy. Needless to say, pictures were not captured. I was too busy shaking my tailfeather to old school tunes upstairs (yea, alone!). Sigh, I *really* need a night out! I’ve made them several times since then for company, and they’re always very well received. A great change of pace from the standard margarita. Blood oranges are already gone from my local store, but I’m already looking forward to next year when I’ll be able to make these again. If you can track down a bag, do yourself a favor and make these margaritas this weekend!