Irish Coffee

If you have been following me on Instagram, you will have noticed my Friday evening Irish Happy Hour.

I will have you know, I continued that happy hour when I awoke Saturday morning.  Irish coffee and cinnamon sugar toast.  It gets better…the piece of bread that I toasted was none other than the heel of the loaf.  Fist pump.  The coffee, french press.  Double fist pump.  The entertainment, Dirty Dancing ( it is back on Netflix, baby!)  I am just pumping my fists in the air at this point.

Living right on a Saturday morning.

But let me stop talking so you can start drinking.

Irish Whiskey.  Jameson is my go to.  I honestly don’ t know of any other.  Who wants to school me?  I am up for some learning (and tasting!)

Brown sugar for sweetness .

Everything lined up and out and ready makes drink mixing a breeze.  It actually makes baking and cooking easier too.

Just a tablespoon.  A lot for this coffee with cream girl.

Coffee.  Drip.  French Press.  Keurig.  Vacuum.  Brew it.  Keep it hot.

You guessed it…pour it.  My favorite sight of any morning (or afternoon or evening).

Fill to about 3/4th full or a smidgen less.   Less means more cream later.

Whiskey in.  Stir.  Butter toast and sprinkle on cinnamon and sugar.  Slice in to triangles because that is how mom did it.

Heavy cream.  Whisk for about one minute just prior to pouring ever so gently over the bottom side of a spoon.  The cream layer is called a cuff.

Take one more crooked picture for good measure.

And when you can take it no longer ….

 

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand. 

- An Irish Blessing

Irish Coffee
 
Ingredients
  • 1 cup of Freshly Brewed Hot Coffe
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
  • 1 + ½ Ounces Irish Whiskey (Jamison) = 3 Tablespoon or 1 jigger
  • Heavy Cream, slightly whipped – whisked for about one minute immediately before using (about ¼ cup per serving)
Instructions
  1. Fill a mug about ¾ full with hot coffee. Add brown sugar and stir until it is dissolved.
  2. Gently pour in Irish whiskey and stir.
  3. Ever so gently, pour slightly whipped cream over a spoon onto the top of the coffee.
  4. Serve hot and drink immediately – pulling the hot whiskey coffee through the slightly whipped cream.

 

 

Peppermint Infused Vodka // Peppermint Vodka Hot Cocoa

Can we discuss the fact that while backing out of my garage yesterday morning, and onto my  driveway  that was covered in snow and snow drifts that were up to my bum (I’m short, this isn’t an amazing feat by any means)…that I may have careened slighty into my yard…but who knows, my driveway could just be amazingly wide, it is anyone’s guess. Everything is just white and frozen.  There was no harm done, however, I am sure my neighbors are concerned about my driving skills, or lack there of…so perhaps my pride is a touch bruised.  It is probably best just to give me ample space and room…


You might be wondering why I haven’t shoveled or snow blown my drive and that is a legitimate concern/question and before Sunday, before we are blasted with another round of the fluffy white stuff, I will have to bundle up and find that darn snow shovel (which has been staring at me from the corner of the garage since well, last winter) and dust off the cobwebs and get in one hell of an arm workout.

But I haven’t done so yet, because I have a Jeep.  And well, it glides right over a good sized drift, but come Sunday…it might be a bit much and well I will feel bad for the pizza delivery man or even the postmaster, since I am not on good terms with him as it is.  Update…my drive was shoveled when I returned home from work.  I confess, I may have snagged a good one :)   So much for getting in that arm workout.

But right now, my driveway looks like I took a shot of this peppermint infused vodka and then quite possibly chased it with a spiked hot chocolate all before heading to work.  Which would have been a decent idea if I were able to work from home…which makes me believe that it is a good thing I don’t.

You might be thinking…peppermint – eh.  December is behind us and thus are the holidays and well, so should peppermint.  But I am guessing that you have dismantled the Christmas tree(s) and the like and have a few rogue candy canes laying about the house, taking up counter/drawer space until you get sick of pushing them aside and tossing them come Groundhogs Day.   I didn’t even have a Christmas tree this year and that is the truth…Candy Canes tend to materialize out of thin air and then linger well beyond their welcome.

Do me a favor, round up 5 candy canes, a mason jar (or any glass jar) plus lid, some vodka that I am sure lives in your freezer behind the frozen peas…and before no time (30 minutes actually), you will find yourself snuggled up on your couch with a mug of spiked peppermint hot chocolate, topped high with whipped cream…thinking of the new year and what lies ahead and perhaps taking pause and reminiscing on the year that has just passed …or you are just watching another Orange is the New Black or Downton Abbey on Netflix and need something to take off the edge of a crazy ass work week.  Either way, I get ya.  I totally do.

Peppermint Vodka // Peppermint Vodka Hot Cocoa
 
Ingredients
  • 5 Candy Canes
  • 1+1/2 Cups Vodka
Instructions
  1. Place candy canes in a plastic bag ( i.e. ZipLock) and using a hammer or rolling pin, crush candy canes until they are near a fine powder. Pulsing the candy canes in a food processor will also do the trick (but it makes more dishes)
  2. Place crushed candy canes in a quart sized mason jar and pour vodka over. Replace lid on mason jar and swirl contents gently.
  3. Let mixture infuse for 30 minutes.
  4. Once infused, strain contents through a cheese cloth. Return to original mason jar and place in refrigerator.
  5. Good for about a month if refrigerated and sealed.

 

For hot chocolate….

1 cup of your favorite hot cocoa – whatever type you are able/willing to make will do the trick.  I have used everything from homemade stovetop the way grandma used to make to packets of powder to K-cups.
2 ounce ‘shot’ of peppermint infused vodka
Whipped Cream
Crushed peppermint sticks (optional)
Shaved chocolate (optional)

Make hot chocolate in your favorite mug.  Stir in peppermint infused vodka.  Top with ample amounts of whipped cream.  Sprinkle on crushed peppermint and shaved chocolate.  Drink.  Repeat.

A Manhattan in Cleveland

Tonight (Wednesday) is the biggest bar night of the year.  So they say.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  When most or a majority of folks are staying with relatives.  Traveling some sort of distance to spend a day or the whole weekend (4 entire days) with loved ones.  In close quarters with brothers and sisters.  Niece and nephews.  Aunties and Uncles.  Adults find themselves in bunk beds or camped out on their parent’s living room floor wrapped up in a New Kids on the Block sleeping bag from elementary.  Yeah, sometimes you need a drink before that happens.  Reason 1, why the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a busy night at the local watering hole.

Reason 2?  Old friends.  Catching up.  Rehashing.  Laughing.  Remembering.  Having a cold beer with people who knew you in 4th grade.  When turtle necks and stirrup pants were the fashion.  Friends that you passed notes with in study hall.  Or played MASH with on the bus.  While we may have dispersed, all going our separate ways, leading our own lives…the Wednesday before Thanksgiving brings most of us back home.  Prompting an impromptu reunion of sorts.

Having to cook a dinner for a crowd.  Hosting Thanksgiving.  If I had to do all the cooking for 15 people…once the house was clean, the prep work complete, and the turkey submerged in a brine, because you refuse to serve a dry bird, a drink would be needed and deserved.  Reason 3.

Since I will not find myself at a bar Wednesday night, I wanted to share with you a cocktail I enjoyed Tuesday night.  A night early.  I spent last night baking this chocolate tart and an apple pie and mixing up an obscene amount of puppy chow.  Baking and cocktails…my kind of evening.  Oh!  and Mark Harmon, he was on TV, not sitting at my kitchen island enjoying a Manhattan.  Total bummer.

Anywhoooo….yes, I made Manhattans.  Not a drink for the faint of heart or for those that aren’t in love with whiskey.  Because it is whiskey and vermouth and bitters.  That is it.  Simple and straightforward.  Bourbon whiskey is what I had laying around, but rye whiskey is more traditional…however, both get the job done.  However, if you use scotch whisky it is considered a Rob Roy.  There’s a Wednesday cocktail fun fact, for ya.

Safe travels to those that are hitting the road today and over this long holiday weekend!

Happy Thanksgiving.

Gobble Gobble.

Manhattan
 
Serves 2
Ingredients
  • 4 Ounces Whiskey
  • 2 Ounce Sweet Vermouth
  • 3 to 4 Dashes Angostura Bitters
  • Maraschino Cherries and orange peel (optional) for garnish
  • Ice
Instructions
  1. Combine whiskey, sweet vermouth, and bitters in a mixing glass with several ice cubes. Stir to combine.
  2. Strain into 2 cocktail glasses, or tumblers, or mason jars, or jam jars, or a low ball glass…you get the idea.
  3. Garnish with a maraschino cherry and perhaps an orange peel.
  4. Sit, sip, and relax.
  5. (I like my cocktails very cold, so I added ice to my jar….)

 

 

Strawberry Infused Vodka

I signed up for the Tough Mudder April 2013 yesterday.  Remember the Tough Mudder 2012?  I do.  The memories are rather vivid, maybe because I finished the race feeling 20 years older and looking like I was mugged and then pulled through a gauntlet.  Or maybe because I still have a slight bump in my right shin from one serious bruise.  Or maybe because I had so much fun.  Like serious, to the core, can’t wait to do it again, adrenaline rush, pure exhaustion, fun.  Yeah, there was a bit of failure ( i.e. monkey bars and rings), a bit of terror/trepidation ( 30+ leap into an ice cold quarry and electric shock that left me face down in the mud), but I experienced a lot of team work and success ( 13 mile run, 20 foot walls, quarter pipe, etc…).  All of which make me excited for April.  While jumping off a ledge 30+ feet above a quarry will always make my stomach enter my throat (half the fun, right?) and running 13 miles will always be my strong point in the tough mudder…beyond just finishing, this year I have a few goals to work towards.  One being those damn monkey bars and secondly, I plan on leaving the quarter pipe with fewer bruises.  And I will try to remember to not chug my beer at the end…talk about a lead weight in the gut, ugh!  I was just so thirsty.

What does this have to do with strawberry infused vodka?  Nothing.  Zero.  Zilch.  Other than I should have a batch of this ready come April, post race…Anything to ease the pain, right?

Strawberry infused vodka … I am not sure this needs an introduction or an explanation.  Strawberries and vodka have a tendency to speak for themselves.

 

Strawberry Infused Vodka
 
This will make about 3 cups of strawberry infused vodka. You can make as little or as much as you like.
Ingredients
  • 2 Pints Strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2-3 Cups Vodka, your favorite brand
  • Mason Jars with tight fitting lids
  • Cheese Cloth
  • Time
Instructions
  1. Hull and quarter strawberries.
  2. Fill mason jars with strawberries, packing them in there.
  3. Pour vodka over strawberries, filling just below the rim.
  4. Screw lids onto mason jars and place in a dry dark place for three days, shake jars once daily.
  5. After three days, line a mesh strainer with cheese cloth and place over a large container that will hold about 3 to 4 cups of liquid. Pour strawberries and vodka into strainer. Let sit and strain for several minutes. Discard strawberries.
  6. Store strawberry infused vodka in glass jars with tight fitting lids in the fridge until ready to use.
Notes
A shot or two of this, mixed with tonic water or club soda makes for a quick evening cocktail. Or mix it with your favorite lemonade. Or champagne or sparkling wine? Yeah, there is no wrong in this case.

 

Blackberry Mojito

I believe.

I believe the best naps are taken on the couch, in your work clothes.  With your shoes still on.

I believe that beer tastes better from the tap  and worst from a bottle.

I believe chocolate should always be close at hand, in the purse, in the cupboard, in the desk, or in your locker.

I believe an afternoon of watching Dirty Dancing will make the world right again.  Same is said for The Sound of Music.

I believe that lip gloss and mascara is all a girl really needs…less is totally more.

I believe comfortable silence between two people says more than chatty conversation.

I believe in loud music and singing along, so I can’t hear myself and the wrong lyrics that escape my lips.

I believe shoes make an outfit.

I believe green beans will make my hair grow longer, faster.

I believe God is good.  And people are crazy.

I believe in laughter.

I believe that bbq isn’t properly eaten unless you have sauce from ear to ear.

I believe that Diet Coke is liquid crack and popcorn is air popped crack, lightly salted.

I believe ants and spiders should live outside and let me live inside.  Alone.

I believe drinks taste better when slurped through a bendy straw.

I believe berries taste like summer.  And summer taste like berries.

I believe in celebrating the little things in life, along with the big stuff.  Milestone birthdays and Friday evenings.  New jobs and new shoes.  First steps and first dates.

I believe Friday’s should be celebrated.  With cake at work and cocktails at home.

Blackberry Mojitos

Makes 1 Cocktail

Ingredients

- 6 to 8 Blackberries

- 8 Mint Leaves

- 1 ounce Rum

( I used coconut rum, gotta use what ya got!)

- 1 Tablespoon Sugar

- Juice of half a lime

- A few ice cubes

- 2 to 3 ounces Club Soda

In a glass, combine the sugar and mint leaves.  Using a muddler or a pestle, break down the mint into the sugar, releasing its oils and aroma.  Add blackberries, rum, and lime juice and continue to muddle the ingredients together.  ( I used the back of a spoon to smash the blackberries).  Add a few ice cubes and top off with club soda.  Garnish with extra blackberries and mint sprigs.

Enjoy!