I have the delicious drink recipes from our Ladies Whiskey Party to share with you today! One of my favorite details from this day  was the incorporation of the recipes into the event — I wrote the ingredients out on brown paper bags and tied them on whiskey bottles to match each drink so it was easy to identify each one. And because the idea of the party was all about sharing these whiskey drinks and making whiskey drinking a bit more approachable, we gave everyone a stack of recipe cards with the ingredients and instructions written out on them so they can recreate them at home. Now, onto those recipes!

aUrbanGrape_StyleMePretty Whiskey Party_Jan2014_003aClassic Whiskey Smash

  •  Half a lemon, cut into wedges
  • 6 mint leaves
  • .75 oz simple syrup
  • 2 oz Buffalo Trace Bourbon

In a shaker, muddle lemon wedges with mint leaves and simple syrup. Add ice and bourbon, shake vigorously. Strain over crushed ice and garnish with a tall mint leaf.

UrbanGrape_StyleMePretty Whiskey Party_Jan2014_093aUrbanGrape_StyleMePretty Whiskey Party_Jan2014_074The Ladies Manhattan

  •  2 oz Michter’s Rye
  • .75 oz Dolin sweet vermouth
  • .25 oz Luxardo maraschino liqueur
  • 2 dashes Regan’s orange bitters
  • Cherry garnish

Stir all ingredients with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass, cherry garnish.

aUrbanGrape_StyleMePretty Whiskey Party_Jan2014_097 UrbanGrape_StyleMePretty Whiskey Party_Jan2014_087The Bee Keeper Punch

  •  1.5 bottles Overholt Rye
  • 16-18 oz fresh lemon juice
  • 25 dashes bitters
  • 2 cups honey spice simple syrup (go slowly to taste)
  • 1 bottle inexpensive Prosecco

Combine first four ingredients and chill for several hours. Before serving add Prosecco. Serve over rocks with a twist of lemon.  (To make simple syrup: 16 oz clover honey, 16 oz water, 1/4 cup mulling spices. Bring all ingredients to boil, turn off heat. Steep for 15-30 minutes. Strain the ingredients and cool the syrup.)

UrbanGrape_StyleMePretty Whiskey Party_Jan2014_094 UrbanGrape_StyleMePretty Whiskey Party_Jan2014_099

Cocktail Recipes, Ingredients, and Event Space: The Urban Grape, Photography: Brian Samuels, Vintage Glassware: Farm & Fable

On my day off on Monday my husband suggested I try making homemade hummus — we buy it all the time and word on the street is that it’s pretty simple to make, so I gave it a whirl! I used Ina Garten’s recipe as a base (because she’s fabulous and I always trust her recipes!) and made a few modifications. First, I added a bit more garlic, an extra large clove, because adding more garlic is pretty much always my way life. Next, I reduced the tahini paste — it has a strong flavor, and I added in a little bit of the recommended 1/3 cup at a time, I probably only ended up using 1/4 cup in my version. After I blended all of the ingredients, I used a spatula to scrape it out into a serving dish and topped it with a few toasted pine nuts and a drizzle of good olive oil (for no other reason than that I’ve seen it done at restaurants, and I think it looks pretty!).  The verdict? It really is as easy it sounds — you just throw it all in a food processor and blend. Now that I know that, I’m brainstorming more flavors to try!

ADSC_0006 aDSC_0009 ADSC_0010 ADSC_0012 ADSC_0016

Lately I have been following along with Brottle, a  year-long bottled cocktail project, that posts a new bottled cocktail recipe everyday on their instagram account. They post videos with step by step instructions of the recipes on YouTube too, and I’ve watched just about every one — they’re so cute, and the recipes are quick and easy. It’s an idea I can get behind, mix up a bigger batch to keep on your bar cart while entertaining, or bring it along with you as a little hostess gift to a party. And because everything is pre-mixed into one bottle, it makes those cocktail refills a little faster too! So after seeing their greyhound recipe last week, I decided it was time to join in on the fun and make one myself. I switched up the recipe and made my greyhound with 8oz of gin instead of vodka, and  mixed it with 19oz of fresh grapefruit juice. Then once it was time to serve, I poured it over ice and garnished it with a fresh spring of thyme leaves. It was tasty — and now I have a little cocktail waiting for me in the fridge after work tomorrow too!

ADSC_0020 ADSC_0023 ADSC_0027 ADSC_0030

 

 

I mentioned earlier this week that my weekend was a bit of a carb-fest. One of the highlights of my breaded-binge was making homemade popovers and strawberry butter. It’s sort of a family tradition to make these delicious egg-y pastries. When my sister and I were kids, my mom and aunts would take us to have lunch at Neiman Marcus, and the popovers were always a highlight of the meal. So when they visited this weekend I broke out the Neiman Marcus Cookbook and whipped up a batch. The strawberry butter is the best part, it’s just strawberry jam and butter whipped together, but for some reason it tastes absolutely amazing — I want to put it on everything! ADSC_0067ASC_0060ADSC_0058ADSC_0066ADSC_0068ADSC_0063

I am not feeling so hot this week, I’ve come down with a pretty terrible cold and just can’t seem to bounce back! So I made it my mission last night to get on the road to recovery with a pot of homemade soup. I took a stab at a tortellini soup I saw in the most recent issue of Food Network magazine and made a few modification like adding in chopped onions and extra garlic to the recipe (and omitting the water they suggested). And it was just want the doctor ordered, a totally delicious soup can do wonders. Find the full recipe here.

20140128-184606.jpg

 

Guys, it’s hump day — and no one likes hump day — let alone the first one after the holidays, so I saved this recipe from a few weeks ago that’s completely focused on butter to make you feel better. One of the nicest presents I received for Christmas this year was from my grandparents and uncle; they got me a bunch of artisanal pasta and olive oils from a local pasta shop in my hometown. Clearly my family knows me well, carbs are my first love.

Roasted Garlic Herb Butter 1

When it came time to test out one of those pastas I wanted to make it a super special dinner, so in addition to working on a nice sauce and some homemade meatballs, I got a fresh loaf of Italian bread and decided to whip up a special herbed butter to go with it. I roasted a whole head of garlic for about an hour in a  small dish with some olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then once the garlic was cooked and soft, I used the food processor to combine the cloves with a 3 tablespoons of butter, a tablespoon of fresh grated parmesan cheese, a teaspoon of chopped rosemary, and a teaspoon of chopped thyme, plus a little more salt and pepper. The result was a sweet roasted garlic and herb-y butter spread that went perfectly with the little Italian feast I prepared!

Roasted Garlic Herb Butter 2 Roasted Garlic Herb Butter 3

 

 

If you head on over to Style Me Pretty Living today you’ll see some pictures from a Crafts and Cocktails party my girlfriends and I threw to kick off the holiday season earlier this month. But before I share a few of my favorite pictures from the day, I thought I’d focus on the signature cocktail I whipped up for the event, priorities, right? I called it the Cran-Bourbon Fizz — just a little sweet and a little strong, a perfect combination if you ask me. And the cranberry and anise garnishes look so darn festive, don’t they? Full recipe below!
HolidayCrafts091 HolidayCrafts095 HolidayCrafts096 HolidayCrafts097 HolidayCrafts120 HolidayCrafts121

Cran-Bourbon Fizz

2 oz Bourbon
.75 oz Grenadine
Seltzer water
Cranberries
Star Anise
Ice

Mix bourbon and grenadine over ice and stir to combine.
Top the glass with seltzer water to taste.
Garnish with cranberries and star anise.

All images by Bring To Light Photography, floral design by Little Flower Cottage

I shared my brie and jam pinwheel bites last week from my friend Elizabeth‘s blogger holiday party, and realized I hadn’t yet shared the cocktail recipe we used for the event (brie and pastry dough are delicious, but they’re nothing without a tasty cocktail to wash them down with!). Elizabeth decorated stemless wine glasses with metallic gold dots that looked like sparkly little bubbles, so of course we had to fill them with something bubbly! We added to each glass about an ounce each of pomegranate juice and Grand Marnier signature collection liquor (it’s raspberry and peach flavored, holy yum.), and then filled the rest of the glasses with champagne — and of course, gave them a swirl with a tinsel-topped drink stirrer. I didn’t have a name picked out for this concoction just yet, and one of my fellow bloggers said, I think you should call it the Blogger Bellini! I’ll cheers to that.

Blogger Bellini 1 Blogger Bellini 2 Blogger Bellini 3

I got such great feedback a few weeks back about my 3-ingredient appetizer idea  that I decided to try another combination for a little blogger holiday party thrown by my friend Elizabeth this weekend. And for this little snack I chose one my all time favorite cheese, a creamy french brie… yum. I rolled out thawed puff pastry dough (store bought, from the frozen food section!) and spread a thin layer of strawberry jam across the surface, and spaced out the slices of cheese.  Then I rolled the dough over the ingredients and sealed off the edges before cutting it into pinwheel slices. I baked the pinwheels — on baking sheet with a light mist of cooking spray — for about 12 minutes at 400 degrees. Let them cool a bit before removing them from the baking sheet so all of the cheese doesn’t ooze out — you don’t want any of that going to waste! I think this is going to be a new entertaining staple, it took about 5 minutes of prep time and they flew off the plate! Brie and Jam Pinwheels 1 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 2 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 3 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 4 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 5 Brie and Jam Pinwheels 6

I got a head start this weekend on holiday baking, who says pies are just for Thanksgiving day? I’m a big of fan of individual-sized desserts (as evidenced here and here), after a heavy meal and lots of snacking, I always still want dessert, but just need a little taste to tie me over. So I made the recipe for classic pumpkin pie (I use a top secret family recipe…the one printed on the Libby’s pumpkin puree can!) and used a mini-muffin tin to bake the ingredients off in bite-sized pies. Mini-pies just weren’t cute enough though, I had to up the adorable factor and  use my alphabet cookie cutters to spell out a little a seasonal message. I think I’m going to do the same thing for Thanksgiving later this week! What kind of recipes are you baking up for the holidays?

Pumpkin Pie Bites 1 Pumpkin Pie Bites 2 Pumpkin Pie Bites 3 Pumpkin Pie Bites 4 Pumpkin Pie Bites 5