Tag Archives: cocktail

Easy Watermelon Margaritas


When it comes to cocktails, increasingly I find myself of the opinion that minimal ingredients provide a better drink. Especially when I am making a drink at home. There was a time in my life where I didn’t think this was the case. Probably around the same time I concocted “liquor soup” for my roommates and I, served in a bowl with a straw. (Bad decision.)

These days, I enjoy better quality liquor that doesn’t need to be too dressed up or masked. Generally I am a bourbon kind of lady. Knob Creek is my preference, on the rocks or straight. My husband, on the other hand, is a tequila kind of guy.

One of my favorite tequila cocktails is a simple, classic margarita. When using good tequila and fresh citrus, it’s refreshing and delicious. The following is another close favorite and a slightly sweeter take on the classic margarita. When watermelons start showing up in our grocery store, immediately I begin to think about watermelon juice, which is one of my favorite beverages. Turned into an adult beverage? Absolutely.


Easy Watermelon Margaritas

Yields 4 drinks.

4 cups watermelon, cubed
2 tablespoons agave or honey
4 limes, 3 juiced and 1 cut into wedges for garnish
1 small valencia orange, juiced
8 ounces tequila

In a blender, puree the watermelon and agave or honey until smooth. Pour the puree through a mesh strainer, transferring the strained juice to a pitcher. Add the lime juice, orange juice and tequila. Stir to combine.

Fill 4 glasses to the rim with ice then pour the margarita evenly into each glass. Garnish each with a lime wedge and serve immediately.



Strawberry Basil Gin Cocktail


Can a person have a “drinking career?” I was about to start this off with, When I think about my drinking career… Then I realized drinking isn’t exactly a job nor how I’d ever hope to describe the majority of my day to day life. At the ripe old age of 27, I think about my adult beverage of choice decisions through the years:

Freshmen year of college, I lived on the honors all girl floor of our dormitory. My roommate and I housed really shitty beer and wine coolers in our fridge on occasion. When I moved off campus the following fall, I was 19. I would’ve liked to consider myself a beer snob, but really I was missing the good microbrews notorious to the West Coast and instead indulging in still-cheap-Canadian beer. The summer I turned 20, there were many poor college student margaritas and inexpensive beer, sweet wines, cheap Carlo Rossi sangria by the jug-full drank with bendy straws… 21 brought weird concoctions that included things like Hypnotic, nasty Malibu rum, too much cheap vodka, or a hell of a lot of Kahlua. I probably shouldn’t tell you I invented what I called “liquor soup” amongst my roommates, which certainly came served in a bowl without utensils. That same summer I turned 21, I had my first mojito. It was probably the downfall of my birthday bar hopping shenanigans. I vowed never to drink another mojito again… and I didn’t, for a number of years. The thought of mashed up mint leaves in my drinks made me cringe.

In the last half decade or so, I’ve found an appreciation for good microbrews (I love a good beer, especially after a long day or hot afternoon). I’ve also found an appreciation for good quality bourbon, tequila, vodka, and gin. Not together in a soup, but certainly on their own or in a good drink. When I saw this drink from Joy Wilson at Joy the Baker the other night, featuring smashed strawberries, basil, and lime, I immediately thought of the gin and tonics I found myself loving a few years ago. I decided gin would be an excellent accompaniment to this drink, along with fresh vanilla bean, which would add the tiny polka dots I so love about freshly scraped vanilla bean. The drink itself isn’t overly sweet, as the only sweetness is coming from the smashed strawberries. Reminiscent of a mojito, the smashed basil works nicely with the strawberries and gin. This recipe is easy enough to duplicate, or if you don’t feel like sharing, it makes enough for one.


Strawberry Basil Gin Cocktail

Makes one drink.

Strawberry Basil Gin Cocktail with Vanilla Bean


6-8 ripe strawberries
2 tbsp. fresh basil, chopped
½ a vanilla bean, scraped
2 oz. good quality gin
4 oz. tonic water
1 ripe lime, juiced
crushed ice



In a small bowl, combine the strawberries, basil, scraped vanilla bean, half of the lime juice, and mash together with a fork  until well combined.

Combine the mashed strawberry mixture, gin, tonic, remaining lime juice, and a good bit of crushed ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake until thoroughly mixed, then pour into a drinking glass. Top off with more crushed ice if needed, then drink immediately.


Spicy Bloody Mary


I had forgotten about a good bloody mary until recently. However, when we were out meeting some friends and it was hardly 2PM, but we were in a bar, logically, a bloody mary seemed to be the best option. Or a hot toddy, but tangy-spicy versus warm-boozy sounded best at the time. I will tell you right now: a bloody mary? It’s the only way I will drink tomato juice, really.

Now, this last bloody mary… Okay, these last two bloody marys I had were good. They were a little spicy, a lot boozy, noticeably tomato-y. But I wanted spicier. You really cannot go wrong with a spicy bloody mary. I always shied away from making my own, intimidated by the number of things I imagined would go into one. However, this week, all I needed to add to ingredients I had on hand was tomato juice. That was easy enough to do.

The result has been delicious, rewarding and belly-filling. Go ahead and make one for yourself. Or, you’re having brunch company over? Multiply this recipe and enjoy!

Spicy Bloody Mary

Makes one drink.


3 oz. good quality vodka
6 oz. tomato juice
½ – 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
¼ – ½ tsp. sriracha sauce
1/8 – ¼ tsp. prepared horseradish
1 – 2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
fresh ground black pepper
pinch of celery salt *
stalk of celery
green olives, in juice
1 lemon wedge

* If you have celery seeds and sea salt in your pantry, there’s no need to buy the specially labeled bottle, “Celery Salt.” Simply grind up 1 part celery seeds to 2 parts salt with a mortar and pestle or spice grinder. Voila! Celery salt.


Fill a medium-large drink glass with ice (large enough to hold 12-16 ounces of liquid).

Using a pepper grinder, add 1-5 full grinds of fresh pepper into your glass. Less for a milder bloody mary, more for spicier flavor. Add in the Worcestershire sauce, sriracha, lemon, celery salt, and a small splash of the juice from the olives.

Either stir the ingredients really well or pour everything into a drink shaker, shaking to well combine everything. If using a shaker, pour all the mixed ingredients into a glass. Add more ice if needed, to fill to the rim of your glass.

Add the slice of lemon to the rim. Spear 2-3 green olives with a toothpick, then poke the toothpick into one end of the celery (if you want). Add the concoction to your glass, allowing the olives to rest on the rim. Serve immediately and drink happily.