Thirsty Thursday: Amaretto Cranberry Kiss

amaretto cranberry kiss

When I first checked out this drink, I really wasn’t too sure how amaretto and cranberry would go together. I love amaretto! So I was a little hesitant to make this only to have it be a ‘waste’ of amaretto. If you’ve never had amaretto before, you are missing out! It is a sweet, almond liqueur from Italy. It is delicious and definitely underutilized.

I found this cocktail to be a bit on the sweet side for my taste. I think in the future, I would use orange liqueur/triple sec to cut the sweetness or squeeze in a lime if I was using fresh orange juice. That said, this was a very smooth cocktail and the amaretto really complements the cranberry and vodka. If you like your drinks on the sweeter side, this is definitely perfect for you, but if you like a little less sweet, it might take some adjusting to get the flavors right.

Amaretto Cranberry Kiss (from Epicurious)

  • 2 cups cranberry juice
  • 1 cup vodka
  • 1/2 cup amaretto
  • 3 tablespoons fresh orange juice (orange liqueur could be substituted)
  • Ice cubes
  • Clementines, peeled, separated into segments

Mix cranberry juice, vodka, amaretto, and orange juice in pitcher. Cover and chill until ready to serve. DO AHEAD: Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.

To make 2 drinks, fill cocktail shaker with ice cubes. Pour in scant 1 cup vodka mixture. Cover and shake vigorously. Strain into 2 Martini glasses. Garnish each with clementine segment. Repeat 3 times with ice cubes, remaining vodka mixture, and clementine segments.

Thirsty Thursday: Aspenlicious


This is a super decadent dessert cocktail. It has a lot of flavors in it, but they all come together perfectly to make a wonderful wintery cocktail. The original cocktail called for coconut vodka. I searched all over town for it, but the only kind I could find was $30 ciroc. It might be great, but I’m sorry P. Diddy or whatever you are going by these days, that is just too much moola for me. One of the the guys at a grocery store I went to said I should just infuse my own coconut vodka, but that required work. I just wasn’t into that idea. So I just used regular vodka.  I used a ratio of 3 ounces vodka to 1 ounce of everything else.

Aspenlicious (from

  • 2 parts Vodka
  • 1/2 part Amaretto
  • 1/2 part Coffee Liqueur
  • 1/2 part rum
  • 1/2 part Irish Crème
  • splash Half & Half
  • dash chocolate syrup
  1. Coat a martini glass with the dark chocolate syrup.
  2. In a pint glass, mix liquid ingredients with ice, shake and strain into chocolate-coated glass.
  3. Garnish with the grated chocolate on the surface of the cocktail.

Thirsty Thursday: Thanksgiving Edition

This drink doesn’t really have a name. It was created 3 Thanksgivings ago in a kitchen in a student dorm in London.

It was a particularly memorable Thanksgiving. We had a lot of friends on our graduate program from various parts of the globe and not all of them had the opportunity to celebrate the world’s greatest holiday. My friend and fellow American, Lauren, and I were determined to celebrate regardless of London’s numerous attempts to thwart our plans. One meal for nearly 25 people required nearly a month of planning, numerous tube and taxi rides, trips to parts of London we never knew existed before (I swear we ended up in Wales at one point) and even mailing in supplies from the States. Now add on the fact that there is only one kitchen big enough for that many people and it only has one functioning European sized oven (the 2nd oven was replaced the next day… perfect timing by the management) and Lauren and I were both dealing with a lovely case of meningitis. It was pretty epic adventure and it will always remain one of my favorite Thanksgivings.

So, it was under these circumstances that this cocktail came about. It was partially out of necessity and partially out of what we had left on hand. You most definitely need a cocktail after dealing with all that. You might need a cocktail after dealing with family the kitchen all day. I would highly recommend this little concoction, as it turned out perfectly and has become a little Thanksgiving tradition of mine.

The Perfect Holiday Cocktail

  • 1.5 ounce vanilla vodka (or regular vodka for a less sweet version)
  • 1.5 ounce berry juice (like cranberry, raspberry, or even cranberry-raspberry if you’re feeling wild)
  • champagne/prosecco/any kind of sparkling wine
Pour a shot of vodka and a shot of cranberry juice into a champagne glass and fill glass with champagne. Top with raspberries or cranberries if desired. Serve and enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Thirsty Thursday: Pear Haymaker

This is a very enjoyable autumn cocktail. It’s light and fruity, but still satisfying on a cool fall evening. Even though there is a lot of ginger in there, it’s not very overwhelming. I used ginger beer (Reed’s Extra Ginger Brew to be specific) and it came out pretty perfect even though the commenters on the original recipe seemed to have an issue with ginger beer.

Pear Haymaker (from Savuer) Makes 2 Cocktails

For the ginger syrup:

  • ¼ cup sliced, peeled ginger
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 oz. vodka
  • 1 oz. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 pear, chopped, peeled, and cored
  • Ginger ale or ginger beer, to top
  1. Make the ginger syrup: Combine sliced ginger, sugar, and 1 cup water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Strain out ginger solids and discard, reserving syrup in an airtight container.
  2. Divide chopped pear between two 12 oz. tall glasses; muddle in each glass with a wooden muddler. Pour 2 oz. vodka over the pears in each glass, and fill with ice. Add ½ oz. ginger syrup and ½ oz. lemon juice to each glass, stir to combine, and finish with ginger ale to top.
  3. Serve and enjoy!

Thirsty Thursday: Blood Bath Punch

So, I’m not too sure when Halloween became such a ‘thing’ in the US. I’m going to say it was when I was somewhere in the wilds of Eastern Europe. Halloween is not a ‘thing’ there. It was nice.

It’s not so much that I dislike Halloween. Trust me, I’m down with just about an excuse to get dressed up and throw a party, but things have gotten out of hand here. It’s more that I don’t really like Halloween being such a ‘thing’. It makes me a bit uncomfortable. The Christmas season is bad enough, Halloween does not need to compete with its own.

I saw my first Halloween ‘card’ on sale back in August. I rolled my eyes so hard it hurt. When the hell did it become a card sending holiday? Cards should be strictly limited to birthdays and only when containing said birthday’s present. Cards are totally unnecessary, especially for Halloween. I  was also rather perturbed by discovering that there is such a thing as Halloween lights. For serious? I was also more disturbed by the fact that people buy Halloween lights, but apparently they do.

Why can’t people get way into better holidays? Thanksgiving? 4th of July? Arbor Day? Winston Churchill Day? There are so many other holidays to get behind, people really should expand their options.

All that being said, I decided the best way to deal with this holiday, and any other awkward holiday, is to make a delicious cocktail and just deal with it.

Blood Bath Punch (from

  • 3 oranges
  • 1 bottle cranberry juice cocktail
  • 1 quart chilled orange juice
  • 1 cup chilled vodka
  • 1/2 cup triple sec
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  1. Cut 3 oranges into 1/2-inch wedges; freeze. (Try blood oranges!) In a large pitcher or punch bowl, mix 1 (64 oz.) bottle cranberry juice cocktail, 1 quart chilled orange juice, 1 cup chilled vodka, 1/2 cup triple sec and 3 Tbsp. fresh lime juice. Serve with frozen orange wedges.

Thirsty Thursday: Vanilla Bean Dirty Shirley Temple

So, when I was first starting this blog I googled ‘Santa Barbara blogs’ or something like that to see if there were any bloggers lurking near my hood that I could blog stalk and eventually become friends with. Turns out, not so much. Or they just have really bad SEO. Hard to tell. I did manage to stumble across the blog of a local wedding and event planner here in town, Kelly Oshiro, and while I doubt I will ever have any need for her services, I was drawn in by the pretty pictures and colors. And after poking through several pages of beautiful events, I realized that she also featured a weekly cocktail on her blog. Now, I was a little more interested. Weekly cocktail recipes are something I can actually use in my life, wedding inspiration is not.

These cocktails are the types of cocktails that you would drink if you lived in an Anthropologie catalog. A bit quirky, kinda trendy, a little fancy, something you want in your everyday life, but can’t really afford. They are aspirational cocktails.

The first sip of this drink brought me back to my childhood. I loved Shirley Temples as a kid. Loved them. I only got to drink them when we went out to a fancy restaurant, which was approximately once every 3 years. I have a distinct memory of a Chinese restaurant we used to go downtown, but can’t tell you anything about it except that it’s where I had my first Shirley Temple. So when I saw the Vanilla Bean Dirty Shirley I knew I would have to try it. And luckily for me, this cocktail wasn’t too too fancy. Since I’m broke and value my vanilla bean pods more than most other spices, I decided to forego the vanilla bean pod. But fear not, I can assure you that this drink is just as tasty without the real vanilla bean pod. It also tasted exactly like the Shirley Temples I remember from being a kid, except for the whole vodka part… which if there was vodka involved, would explain a whole lot.

Vanilla Bean Dirty Shirley (from this recipe)

  • 1 1/2 shots of vanilla flavored vodka
  • Fresh, pitted cherries (I used jarred sour cherries)
  • 1/2 vanilla bean scraped (I omitted this, vanilla beans are pricy…)
  • Drop of grenadine (depending on sweetness preference)
  • Sprite or Soda Water (again depending on desired sweetness)
Muddle cherries in a glass until completely smushed. Top with vodka (and vanilla bean if using) and stir together. Add Sprite or soda water, finish with a drop of grenadine. Serve and enjoy!

Thirsty Thursday: Strawberry Vodka Lemonade

So it’s no secret that I am a bit obsessed with Joy the Baker. Not in a creepy way. More in a she bakes really amazing things and takes really pretty pictures and really hilarious podcast kinda way. Totally normal. Well, because of Joy the Baker’s wonderful podcast I have also recently become acquainted with Shutterbean. Tracy also makes some really wonderful things. The first time I visited Shutterbean, I instantly knew I was on to a good thing based upon the fact that her most recent recipe at the time was for Strawberry Infused Vodka. Yep, definitely the start of a wonderful thing.

Fortunately for me I have recently become enamored with the idea of canning, so I had the prerequisite mason jar on hand. I also had a lot of fresh strawberries and vodka on hand, this obviously just had to happen as soon as possible. And happen it did.

I will admit I had a little sip of the vodka when it was done and I was definitely less than impressed, but being the intrepid sort, I decided to give it another go. I am quite happy that I did. The results were delicious. A little too delicious. This drink was the perfect answer to a hot and muggy afternoon. It definitely went down very easily. With all the berry action going on, there isn’t much of a vodka taste, which can be both a good and a bad thing.

Strawberry Vodka Lemonade

  • Strawberry infused vodka
  • Sparkling lemonade (I would suggest Trader Joe’s French Lemonade)
  • A couple chopped up strawberries
Combine vodka and lemonade over a couple ice cubes. Top with Strawberries. Serve and enjoy!

Thirsty Thursday: Moscow Mule

This week’s installment of Thirsty Thursday brings us the Moscow Mule!

I had never really heard of a Moscow Mule, until the other week when there was an article on Serious Eats about it. I’m not really a big vodka fan and I had never had ginger beer before, but for some reason, this really appealed to me. Maybe it was the lime… I do have a major thing for lime. I also found the Russian/Cold War marketing of the drink very amusing.

This is the perfect drink for a summer evening and it could not be simpler to make.


Moscow Mule

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 4-6 ounces ginger beer
  • 1/2 of a lime
  • ice
Juice the lime and combine with vodka over ice, pour in ginger beer. Serve and enjoy! Easy, peasy lemon squeezy, well lime squeezy, but you know what I mean!
[Update! I probably should have mentioned where you can find ginger beer, because it is NOT ginger ale (even though I’m sure it could be substituted in a pinch). I got my ginger beer at Cost Plus World Market. A 4-pack was on sale for 4 bucks. I am fairly certain BevMo would carry it as well.]


Sunday Summary! June 12, 2011

Well, this week just flew by thanks to some quality time with visiting friends, Skype dates with far away friends and more cover letters than I care to mention. Anyone want to give me a job? I’m, like, super well qualified and I have some amazing skills and dogs really like me. Anyone…?

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week!

Things I Made This Week:

Things I Want To Make:

Good Things To Know: