A few weeks ago we went strawberry picking, only to get home to find that I didn’t have an operational cooktop. Not wanting any of those glorious berries to go to waste, I made an interesting strawberry jam, a delicious strawberry pie and cake, and with what I had leftover – I steeped the berries in vodka for a week and made this beautiful strawberry infused vodka!

Isn’t the color just glorious? And the flavor? The flavor is all juicy, ripe berries. When I strained the berries out they were pure white. Alcohol is funny like that. You can extract flavor from anything with it! Last year my husband made a really different hot pepper IPA by soaking a few habeneros in vodka, then adding that pepper extract to the final product. We’re looking forward to another batch of that already! But I digress, that’s another post.

This strawberry vodka is mellow enough to be sipped over ice, or to-die-for mixed into an icy glass of lemonade. I’m hoping that the bottle makes it through to the winter. To enjoy the freshness and flavor of these berries in the cold winter months would be a treat for sure! Next year I’ll probably make 2 bottles. Good stuff, folks!

It’s no secret that I have a love for margaritas, in any incarnation. Here’s another one to add to the list! Watermelon margaritas. They’re a bit reminiscent of an agua fresca – the epitome of light, fruity freshness. But, you know, with tequila.

I added a splash of Triple Sec to the recipe, as I don’t feel right calling something a margarita without a) lime or b) Triple Sec. I loved the use of the orange simple syrup, it was delicious and added some complexity to the simple sweetness of the melon. With summer just around the corner, we’ll all have wedges of watermelon stashed away in our refrigerators and coolers. This is a fabulous and fun way to use it!

When you’re stuck with a bunch of brown bananas at the end of a long week, what’s a girl to do? Some might make banana bread or muffins, which is find and dandy. But, if you’re like me – by Friday you’re ready for a good cocktail. And there isn’t a better way to use up bananas than with a banana daiquiri.

I’m not one for fru-fru umbrella drinks, but I fell in love with the banana daiquiri on our honeymoon, where we were fortunate enough to visit the gorgeous island of St. Thomas. There we took a tour, with a wonderfully charismatic tour guide named Sunny Liston. If you’re ever in his neck of the woods, look him up. You’ll have a blast! One of the best views on the island is from the highest mountain top peak (naturally!) and they have a little shopping area/bar. “The Mountain Top” bar is actually home to the banana daiquiri, where it’s said they first concocted it back in the 40’s. The place burned down a few years ago, but it’s been rebuilt since. Thank God, I don’t think that gorgeous island would be the same without this gorgeous drink in hand.

I’ve thought about the drink from time to time since, and tried to recreate it to no avail. Until, I stumbled upon this recipe from Saveur. Nail on the head, people! Sweet, frothy, and strong. 6 ounces of rum may seem like a lot, but you wouldn’t know it’s there. The ripe bananas + banana liqueur gives it the perfect tropical kick. No fakey tasting banana – ugh, is there anything worse? Next time you have some bananas that are about to end up in the compost pile, make these daiquiris. It’s the next best thing to sitting on a tropical beach!

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.