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.

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I dove head first into holiday festiveness this weekend. I finished my Christmas shopping and set up what looked like Santa’s workshop in my kitchen to wrap up all of my gifts. I addressed and mailed out a huge stack of Christmas cards. And celebrated the holidays with all of my best friends with perhaps one too many glasses of champagne on Saturday night, followed by a very chilly home through a snowstorm. If that whirlwind of holiday cheer didn’t get me into the Christmas spirit, I don’t know what else would! And now I’m cruising through the work week and counting down to some much-needed time off to close out the year. photo 1 (3) photo

This is a DIY gift that I can nearly guarantee anyone would love to receive, homemade simple syrups. Sometimes I wonder, do they call it simple syrup because it’s so simple to make? I think they might!  I used this recipe, and added  apples for my own twist. Then I packaged it up in mini-mason jars and labeled the tops with brown craft paper, bakers twine, and recipe tags. Experiment with flavors and come up with your own mixture (I’ve used this recipe before too) — it’ll make your gift even more unique when you give it your own spin!

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Looking for more DIY present ideas? Check them out here.

Cocktails are one of my favorite things. And another one of my favorite things? Adorable branding.  Thus my new obsession with Royal Rose‘s line of organic small-batch simple syrups. They are the prettiest little bottles and come in interesting flavors that I’m loving experimenting with in different cocktails.  I purchased the rose syrup to top off glasses of champagne, and the cardamom clove syrup for fall cocktails — I made an apple cider and bourbon punch with it last weekend (recipe to come soon!).  I have a feeling I may need to try the rest of the line, and gosh won’t they look cute on my bar cart?

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I have a little Fall-inspired cocktail to share today as we gear up for the weekend: Apple Cider Sangria. I made this last weekend and it delicious — I love creating a pitcher of pre-made drinks when having friends over, it’s nice to have something already prepared so you can dive right into the party! To make the sangria, I chopped up two small apples, a half an orange, a few slices of lemon, and some cinnamon sticks and poured a bottle of red wine over the top. I let the red wine soak in the fruit overnight, and right before it’s ready to be served, I poured in a can and a half of hard apple cider (I used Down East cider — one of my favorites and totally delicious on its own — which is why I finished the other half of the second while making dinner!).  Be sure to scoop out some of the fruit into your glass when you serve it — cheers!

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Blueberry mint simple syrup is super easy to make, I whipped up a batch this weekend to top off prosecco for a sweet, seasonal cocktail. To make the syrup, combine one cup of sugar, half a cup of water, a handful of fresh mint leaves, a few pieces of lemon rind, and two cups of blueberries in a saucepan. Bring all of the ingredients to a boil, and let them cook down for about 10 minutes. Next, strain the berries, leaves and rind and leave the liquid in a bowl to cool down. I was impatiently awaiting a cocktail, so I cooled mine in the freezer for a short time. After cooling, strain the syrup one more time. To make the cocktails, pour a glass of champagne or prosecco three-quarters of the way full, and then add the simple syrup to taste–  I like mine a bit sweeter, so I added about one full tablespoon to my drink. Then garnish with lemon, mint, and fresh blueberries — and cheers! I’m thinking ways to use the leftover blueberry mint simple syrup — perhaps on a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream?

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It has been unbearably hot in Boston for the past week, and when prepping for a bridal shower this weekend, I was worried about keeping our big drink dispensers of cocktails cool. There is nothing worse than a warm drink, except for perhaps, a watered down drink. So in an effort to keep things cool and strong, I chopped up lemons and berries and filled up ice cube trays with just a splash of water to hold them together. The result was bright, colorful frozen fruit cubes that I added into the mixed drinks — chilly and pretty, a win win! berry ice cubes DSC_0041

I was at a new grocery store last weekend couldn’t pass up the delicious looking fresh-squeezed grapefruit juice on display — and being the healthy gal that I am, immediately started thinking about which liquor I should mix it with.  The debate concluded with a tie, gin and champagne — and the Grapefruit Gin Fizz was born. Ready for this recipe? Start with 2 oz of gin over ice, add 6 oz of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, top with a splash of St Germain and finish with a champagne float and  garnish with a slice of fresh grapefruit. Striped straws are optional, but highly recommended (and let’s talk about how cute my new straw dispenser is — an amazing wedding gift from a cousin that knows me really well.) Bottom’s up, it’s Friday! 

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I’m dying to share pictures of the wedding, but in the meantime, I thought I’d share a few of the details from our rehearsal dinner. My lovely in-laws hosted a dinner at a waterfront restaurant near our wedding venue, and it was a perfect evening filled with all of my favorite things: fragrant peonies, gold polka-dot details, and lots and lots of nautical anchor motifs! Plus an amazing view out into the shipyards where our tasty dinner was freshly caught! Oh and did I mention the world’s best family and bridal party? DSC_0062DSC_0056

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