Tag Archives: cocktails

Thirsty Thursday: Fresh Cherry Margaritas

Cherry Margaritas

It’s Fiesta time here in Santa Barbara. This year I am planning on avoiding it like the plague. One day down, and 100% successful so far! I go through phases with Fiesta. It’s kind of a love-hate thing. Despite my avoidance of Fiesta, my love of all things Mexican will never diminish. Cherry margaritas might be the perfect combination of summer and Fiesta. It’s, tragically, the end of cherry season here, so I’m trying to use them in any form I can. Fresh cherry margs take it to a new level. Muddling the cherries creates an amazing juice (if only I could make it in mass quantities). If you live in an area where cherries are still available, I would highly recommend making these as soon as you can!

Fresh Cherry Margaritas


  • 12 fresh sweet cherries, pitted
  • 2½ tablespoons tequila
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1½ tablespoons (or more) simple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon maraschino cherry liqueur (or maraschino juice)
  • 1 fresh cherry with stem, for garnish


  1. Put the cherries in a cocktail shaker. Mash them with a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon until well crushed, about 1 minute. Add the tequila, lime juice, simple syrup, and 8 large ice cubes. Cover the shaker and shake vigorously for 30 seconds. Immediately strain into an ice-filled glass. Garnish with the fresh cherry.
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Thirsty Thursday: Strawberry Sake Cocktail

Strawberry Sake Cocktail

When I was in Tokyo a couple months ago I got to drink a lot of sake. A lot of really good sake to be more precise. It was wonderful. Fast froward, I was in the grocery store here the other week and saw a display of sake bottles. I went over to investigate and once I saw the price, I knew I had to buy a bottle. $2.79 for a bottle of sake. I figured, I survived drinking Transylvanian moonshine and Burmese rum, how bad can something approved for sale in the state of California actually be? Worst case scenario, I end up with organ failure and possibly blind, best case, it might be decent enough to use in a cocktail, and somewhere in the middle, I decided at the least I now have a bottle of lighter fluid/paint stripper/weed killer all for the low, low price of $2.79. It seemed like a bit of a risk, but I’m crazy stupid enough to take it. Luckily it worked out in my favor. I really enjoy sake because, generally speaking, it’s very light and refreshing. Those qualities make it perfect for a summertime cocktail.


 Strawberry Sake Cocktail (adapted from Serious Eats)

  • 2 strawberries, sliced plus another for garnish
  • 3/4 ounces fresh juice from 1 to 2 limes
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (see note above)
  • 1 sprig of mint, plus another for garnish
  • 2 ounces sake
  • 1 1/2 ounces seltzer water
  1. In a mixing glass, muddle strawberry, lime juice, and simple syrup in the bottom of a tall glass until the strawberry is completely dissolved. Add mint leaves and gently tap 5 times with muddler. (Do not over-muddle mint or it will taste bitter and muddy.)
  2. Fill glass with ice and add sake. Stir until the fully incorporated. Pour unstrained into serving glass, top with seltzer and garnish with a sprig of mint and a strawberry.


Thirsty Thursday: Limoncello Spritzer

Limoncello Spritzer

I made this delightful cocktail for Mother’s Day last weekend. It was quite a hit (meaning my mom and I both liked it). This is really the perfect summer brunch cocktail. Raspberries and lemons are a great combination of sweet and tart and they work really well together here. The drink is not overly sweet, has delicious fruit flavors and is very refreshing. I’m definitely planning on making this many, many more times over the next few months.

Thirsty Thursday: Limoncello Spritzer


  • 1 pint raspberries
  • 1 cup limoncello, well chilled
  • 2 bottles prosecco, well chilled


  1. Add the raspberries to a food processor and purée until smooth. Strain the raspberries through a fine mesh sieve into a pitcher. Stir in the limoncello and prosecco. Garnish with more berries. Serve in ice filled glasses if desired.
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Thirsty Thursday: Piña Coladas

Pina Coladas

It’s my dear friend Amanda‘s birthday next week, so this one’s for her. HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMANDA!!

Piña coladas are not my favorite drink in the world, but they do hold a special place in my heart. Not only are they a featured in the refrain of one my favorite karaoke songs (thanks Jimmy Buffet), but they remind me of a magical summer in Budapest. That’s where piña colada obsession began. At Morrison’s 1 to be exact. (If you are ever in Budapest, you have to go to Morrison’s (the one by the opera, not the other one)). It took us a while to discover the piña colada at Morrison’s. We tried and failed with our regular go tos, but an impulsive decision lead to a wonderful discovery.

There is something extremely satisfying about a cool and frothy piña colada on a hot and humid summer night. Budapest is both extremely hot and extremely humid during the summer, so it’s pretty much the perfect drink.



Piña Colada

  • Ice cubes
  • 1 cup rum
  • 1 cup coconut cream
  • 1/2 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup pineapple chunks
  • Sliced pineapple, for garnish, optional
  • Maraschino cherry, for garnish, optional


  1. Fill blender halfway with ice cubes. Add rum, coconut cream, pineapple juice and pineapple chunks. Puree.
  2. Serve, garnished with a slice of pineapple and maraschino cherry, if desired.

Thirsty Thursday: Champagne Punch

Champagne Punch

This a delightful little concoction I came up with over the weekend. It was light, fruity and perfect for an 80/27 degree Easter day. I really liked the fruit combination I used ( strawberries, raspberries, and mandarins), but you can use absolutely any fresh fruit you have on hand. My only suggestion would be to let it sit a little bit before serving. The first glass I had was only so-so, but the second glass was a million times better. It definitely improved as the flavors had some time to mix together.

Champagne Punch

  • 2 750 ml. bottles of champagne/sparkling wine/cava
  • 1/2 cup amaretto
  • 1/2 cup orange liqueur/triple sec/cointreau
  • fresh fruit (I used sliced strawberries, raspberries, and mandarins)

Pour the amaretto and orange liqueur into a large pitcher, add fruit and top with champagne. Let sit about 15 minutes before serving.

Thirsty Thursday: Hurricane.


Tis the season for all things New Orleans and cajun, so here we go. The first time I had a Hurricane (the drink variety), was during an actual hurricane (the storm variety). It was actually my first encounter with both variations, and hopefully my last and only encounter with the later. Apparently, it was a mild one, well according to the locals (I found that to be an arguable description). I happened to be in Nassau waiting to leave on my first semester of study abroad adventures and a hurricane decided to swing on through. This particular study abroad program involved a ship, hence the hanging out in cruise port in the middle of hurricane season. Once the hatches were battened down, Señor Frog’s in Nassau found it the appropriate time for drink specials . Bad weather be damned, one dollar for a drink is quite frankly too good a deal to pass up.

I have to admit that I was rather surprised by how difficult it was to find passion fruit juice around here. I eventually settled on a delicious passion fruit/mango blend from Trader Joe’s. Not 100 percent authentic, but tasty. To be honest, I’m not that big of a rum fan. Hurricanes have a lot of rum, but the rum is masked up by a sweet blend of juices and a tart bit of lime. Lime improves just about everything if you ask me.


  • 2 ounces light rum
  • 2 ounces dark rum
  • 2 ounces passion fruit juice
  • 1 ounce orange juice
  • juice of one lime
  • 1 Tbsp simple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp grenadine
  • orange slice and cherry for garnish


Thirsty Thursday: Keoke Coffee

keoke coffee

This is a pretty indulgent drink. It’s not overly heavy, just rich. The coffee and the liquors definitely make a for a full-bodied combination. It’s a drink that you need to take your time with. I think it would make a nice substitute for dessert after a big meal or a fancier nightcap. I could definitely imagine serving this after a dinner party so everyone can hangout and chat a bit longer.

I served mine iced, only because I don’t like hot drinks (weird I know). I threw in 2 heaping teaspoons of decaf instant coffee into a cocktail shaker and added in the alcohol and shook, shook, shook. I then poured it into a mason jar, added a big handful of ice and topped with a bit of whipped cream.


Keoke Coffee
(This is for a 32 ounce mason jar sized coffee, I would cut it in half to fit a normal glass)

  • 2 ounces brandy
  • 2 ounces Kahlúa
  • 2 ounces crème de cacao
  • 16 ounces coffee
  • whipped cream
Combine the first four ingredients and mix together. Top with whipped cream.



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.