Drinks Anyone?

Summertime means lighter, refreshing beers. Say goodbye to your heavy stouts and wave a welcoming ‘hello’ to lighter, fruit-based brews perfect for kicking your feet up and soaking up some glorious sun.

With the weekend upon us, I thought I would share a few of my favorite summer brews in case you happen upon one during your Friday / Saturday / Sunday adventures!

Cheers!

 

Perrin Raspberry BlondePERRIN
Comstock Park, MI
4.5% ABV

This is probably my absolute favorite summer beer! It’s fun and fruity, but not too sweet. One of my favorite aspects of Perrin Raspberry Blonde is it’s crisp, refreshing finish, accompanied by a slight tartness. It pours a beautiful ruby color with a white head. Beautiful raspberry aroma. Perfect for a day at the beach, chilling by the bonfire, or just relaxing the day away with friends.

Odd-Side-Ales-logoOdd Side Ales Pineapple IPA
Grand Haven, MI
6.0% ABV

I usually steer clear of IPA’s…not my jam…but something about the intrigue of pineapple forced me to try this Pineapple IPA by Odd Side Ales and it didn’t disappoint. It’s a pretty golden yellow color with very little head. The sweetness is extremely subtle, but so is the hoppy flavor. Perhaps that is why I actually like this IPA – the hops are understated (which I perfer). Now, while I wouldn’t say this is overtly pineapple in flavor, the almost nondescript fruit taste is enjoyable. If you are looking for a summer beer that has a hit of hops and a hint of sweet, this combo might be the winner for you (especially if you are an IPA-phobic like me).

Arbor Brewing Strawberry Blondearbor-brewing-logo
Ann Arbor, MI
7.7% ABV

Now, I know what you are thinking…this is probably similar to the Perrin Raspberry Blonde reviewed above. False. In fact, I don’t think they are similar at all. Oddly enough, I like Arbor Brewing Strawberry Blonde because (oddly enough) it actually doesn’t taste like strawberry (at all). It pours almost a deep amber / pinkish color and really isn’t very fruity at all. This one, actually, is rather hard to describe. If you are looking for a true ‘fruit beer’ this isn’t it. I really can’t put my finger on why I like it, but I do. It is almost like a slightly sweet wheat beer. Guess you will have to give it a taste test and try it out for yourself!

Short’s Soft ParadeTV Logo with apostrophe
Bellaire, MI
7.5% ABV

Ah..Short’s Soft Parade. One of my standard “go-to” beers. In fact, if I am at a bar or restaurant and the beer selection is slightly overwhelming, this will be my sure-fire order every time. Short’s Soft Parade is a fruit infused rye ale – but the best part is that there are multiple fruits celebrated in this brew:  strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. Because of all of the fruit awesomeness, I would argue that it smells more like a wine than a beer. It pours a dark red, almost pomegranate color and is really stunning in a glass. It isn’t a heavy beer, but it does pack a big punch with the alcohol content. If you are more of a wine drinker, I highly recommend giving this brew a try in the future.

Glam Earrings

I know that statement necklaces have been all the rage (I have obviously featured many of them on the blog and continue to swoon over them), BUT…I have also recently fallen in love with what I refer to as ‘glam earrings’.

‘Glam earrings’ are slightly on the larger side, jam-packed with bling, and are totally a statement of their own. (Translation: do not pair glam earrings with a statement necklace…it’s too much…far too much.)

The trick with rocking ‘glam earrings’ in a chic way is to have them be a surprising part of your outfit. For example: simple skinny jeans or black cigarette pants, white v-neck t-shirt, simple black/navy blazer, great pair of summer heels….BOOM – glam earrings. It is a kind of understated chic. No necklace, just the BLAM…pop of a bling earring.

Kiss Me, I’m Irish (today)!

We are all Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, right?!Kiss_Me_I_m_Irish_2

What better way to celebrate this special holiday than with some cocktails — it’s true, not everyone wants to indulge in green beer. May the Luck ‘O the Irish be with you!

SPARKLING SHAMROCK

  • 1 1/2 parts GREY GOOSE® La Poire Flavored Vodka
  • 1/2 part St. Germain® Elderflower Liqueur
  • 2 parts juiced cucumber
  • 1/2 part lemon juice
  • 1/2 part simple syrup
  • Lemonade or club soda
  • Mint leaves for garnish
  • Cucumber slices for garnish
  • Lemon zest for garnish
  1. In a cocktail shaker, mix all ingredients.
  2. Shake vigorously and double strain.
  3. Serve in a highball glass with cubed ice and garnish with mint, cucumber slices and lemon zest.
  4. Top with lemonade or club soda.

IRISH MARTINI

  • 2 ounces vodka
  • 1/2 ounce dry vermouth
  • 1/2 ounce Irish whiskey
  • Lemon twist for garnish
  1. Pour the Irish whiskey into a chilled cocktail glass.
  2. Swirl around the glass in order to coat the inside and dump the excess whiskey.
  3. Pour the vodka and dry vermouth into a cocktail shaker half-filled with cracked ice.
  4. Shake well.
  5. Strain into the rinsed glass.
  6. Garnish with the lemon twist

JAMESON and GINGER

  • 1 1/2 parts Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • Ginger ale
  • squeeze of a lime wedge
  1. Pour the whiskey into a highball glass filled with ice.
  2. Fill with ginger ale.
  3. Squeeze a lime wedge over the drink and drop it in.
  4. Stir.

SHAMROCKER

  • part Hornitos™ Plata Tequila
  • 1 part DeKuyper® Melon Liqueur
  • 1/2 part triple sec
  • Splash of Orange Juice
  1. Pour the ingredients into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
  4. Garnish with an orange slice.

ZESTY IRISHMAN

  • 3/4 oz Drambuie
  • 1 oz Irish Whiskey
  • 1/4 oz triple sec
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Ginger ale
  • Lemon twist for garnish
  1. Pour the whiskey, Drambuie, triple sec, and lemon juice into a cocktail shaker filled with ice.
  2. Shake until the tin is frosted, strain into a rocks glass filled with ice.
  3. Add a splash of ginger ale and garnish with a lemon twist.

Ring It In with Good Cheer (meaning cocktails)

HAPPY (almost) NEW YEAR!
Whether you are hosting a soiree or spending a quiet night in, treat yourself to a special New Year’s cocktail!

Cranberry Cheer

Photo Credit: Kana Okada

Photo Credit: Kana Okada

Marcus Samuelsson, owner of Red Rooster in NYC, created this festive holiday cocktail.

Ingredients
1 cup sugar
2 sticks cinnamon
2 whole star anise
3 green cardamom pods
1 cup fresh cranberries
6 ounces rye whiskey
2 ounces fresh lime juice
Seltzer
Lime slices, for garnish

Directions
1. In a small pot over medium heat, stir sugar in 1 cup water until dissolved to create simple syrup; reserve 1/4 cup.

2. Place spices on an 8-inch square of cheesecloth and secure with twine to create a sachet; crush spices lightly. Add sachet and cranberries to simply syrup. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and cook for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and discard sachet.

3. In a shaker, mix 4 teaspoons cranberry mixture, whiskey, lime juice, simple syrup, and ice. Pour into 4 glasses with ice. Top each with a splash of seltzer, garnish with lime.

Pomegranate Margaritas

Photo Credit: Kate Mathis

Photo Credit: Kate Mathis

This beautiful drink is easy to prep ahead of time (by the pitcher) to keep guests happy all night!

Ingredients
1 can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
2 cups water
3 1/2 cups gold tequila
2 cups pomegranate juice
1 cup triple sec
5 limes
Ice cubs for serving
1 cup fresh pomegranate seeds

Directions
1. In large pitcher, combine limeade and water until well blended. Stir in tequila, pomegranate juice, and triple sec.

2. Cute each lime crosswise into 1/4 inch thick wheels; cut a slit in each wheel, from center to edge. To serve, place ice cubes and a few pomegranate seeds in each glass; place a lime wheel on rim.

French 75

Photo Credit: Paul Costello

Photo Credit: Paul Costello

Fizzy, flirty, and lemony…
what more do you need?

Ingredients
Ice
1 1/2 ounces VSOP congnac
1/2 ounce Simple Syrup
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
Sparkling wine

Directions
1. Fill cocktail shaker with ice. Add the cognac, simply syrup, and lemon juice and shake well. Strain into martini glass, top with sparking wine, and serve.

Cider Drinks

I adore apple cider. (I mean…who doesn’t?!?! And if you are talking to your computer screen saying that you don’t…we are currently in a fight. Do you hate Santa and puppies and hugs too?)

I was on the hunt for new cider-based recipes and came across the a few from the queen of all festiveness – Martha Stewart.

Black Current Cider Sparklersmd104918_1009_bcsparkler_hd

  • 1/4 cup black-currant juice
  • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups chilled sparkling cider
  • Lemon peels, for garnish

Combine black-currant juice with lemon juice. Add sparkling cider. Divide between 2 glasses, and garnish each with a lemon peel.

md104918_1009_wvcider1_vertWarm Vanilla Cider

  • 6 cups fresh apple cider
  • 2 tablespoons packed dark-brown sugar
  • 2 whole nutmeg seeds
  • 1 vanilla bean (split and scraped)
  • 6 ounces (3/4 cup) bourbon, if desired
  • Whipped cream
  • Honeyed Walnuts

Combine apple cider, dark-brown sugar, nutmeg seeds, and vanilla bean in a medium saucepan. Gently simmer over medium-low heat for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, and add bourbon if desired. Remove and discard solids. Divide among 6 mugs or heatproof glasses, and top each with a dollop of whipped cream and a few honeyed walnuts.

Apple Cider, Cranberry and Ginger Punch

  • 1/3 cup fresh cranberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh apple cider
  • 2/3 cup chilled ginger beer
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 1/2 ounces (1/4 cup plus 3 tablespoons) gin, if desired

Muddle cranberries with sugar in a pitcher. Add apple cider, ginger beer, lemon juice, and gin if desired. Divide among 4 glasses. Serve chilled or over ice.

July is Michigan Craft Beer Month

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Have you been celebrating July as Michigan Craft Beer Month?
If not, shame on you!

My favorite beer reviewers are back to share their Michigan Craft Beer picks for this very special month.

Andrew’s Pick
Founders Red’s Rye PAReds-Rye-PA-Bottle-256x790
Founders Brewing Company
Rye IPA
ABV: 6.6%
4.5 / 5 Stars

This is a go-to IPA for the serious craft beer drinker. Brewed with four types of Belgian caramel malts and 100% Amarillo hops, you won’t find a more balanced IPA with a unique flavor all it’s own. Red’s Rye pours red like it’s name suggests and has a nice malty flavor that finishes crisply with a hoppy bite to it. You used to be able to find this beer year-round at your local beer or grocery store, but Founders has reduced it’s availability to September and October only starting this year due to it’s short shelf life. However, it can still be found year-round on draft anywhere that regularly serves Founders. I will miss sipping on a bottle this summer while sitting on the beach at Lake Michigan, but I look forward to it’s return this fall.

btChris’s Pick
Black Tulip
New Holland Brewing
Abbey Trippel
ABV: 9%
4 / 5 Stars

As more and more brewers are cranking up their beer’s hop levels I find this Trippel very refreshing.  It pours a bright copper color and smells of oranges, bananas and bread.  This beer is refreshing while being smooth and almost sweet/malty.  New Holland isn’t an easy find for me here in the Chicago area, but it is a “must have” when I do come across it.  If you are tired of over smoked porters and quadruple hopped pale ales give this Tripple a try.

Mark’s Pick8714933179_e214f9faf0_b
CPA (Citra Pale Ale)
Odd Side Ales
Pale Ale
ABV: 5.74%
4 / 5 Stars

I came across this beer about a year ago on draft and it has been one of my favorites ever since.  It has a flavor profile more like and IPA, but is really light and refreshing.  CPA pours with a thick dense head and has big grapefruit and resiny aromas.  The flavor is bright and citrusy upfront and ends a bit piney and bitter.  The lower alcohol content and light body also makes it great for the summer as you might be tempted to drink a few more than usual.  Odd Side Ales just started bottling this year so it is much easier to find.  Cheers!

bells_twoheartedale12oz__68324.1351096333.1280.1280

AJ’s Pick
Two Hearted Ale
Bell’s Brewery
India Pale Ale
ABV: 7%
4.5 / 5 Stars

Two Hearted Ale is another tasty and widely available treat from Bell’s Brewery.  It pours hazy yellow with ample white head and lacing. The aroma is absolutely fantastic with citrus and floral hops. The taste is extremely balanced for an IPA. It has a great mix of citrus and floral hops combined with some caramel malt flavors. It doesn’t have much bitterness, but plenty of great flavor.  Without a doubt one of my favorite summer beers!

Taste of Summer: Beer Picks

Enjoy these summer brew selections from a few of my friends!

SOFT PARADE – Shorts Brewing Company
Tessa’s pick

Writing this post is slightly bittersweet because I will be unable to enjoy one of these delicious beverages Soft-Parade-Label-Artthis summer. (Apparently drinking beer when you’re pregnant is frowned upon). But that doesn’t mean everyone else cant have one (or more) for me.

According to the website:
This gourmet specialty is engineered of toasted rye flakes and two row malted barley. Loaded with pureed strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries, we refer to this fermented potion as a fruit infused rye ale. The result is a refreshing fruit delicacy that’s easy to drink, appealing to look at, and finishes dry.

I know that most fruity beers are placed in the “girly” category, but I can assure you…this beer is friendly to both males and females alike. Fruity, yes…but not too overly sweet. The berry smell is stronger than the flavor. My husband doesn’t care for sweet beer much but could definitely drink one or two of these…while I on the other hand…The one thing you have to watch out for is the 9% ABV! Because these go down so easily, they can hit you pretty fast.

SUMMER SHANDY – Leinenkugel
Kristen’s pick

One of my favorite summer beers is Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy.  This beer is often summer-shandytimes my go-to pick for all kinds of summer events – boating, BBQ’s, a day at the beach, or even just a relaxing afternoon by the pool.

Summer Shandy is a lighter beer, with citrus and lemonade-like undertones, making it a perfect summer beer.  If you are looking for more of an IPA this may not be for you, but on a warm summer day, Summer Shandy is an extremely refreshing and crisp choice.  Cheers!

PABST BLUE RIBBON – Pabst Brewing Company
Chris’s PickPabst_logo.svg_

As the weather starts to get nicer, golf courses start to get crowded and the tents start to go up at campgrounds nearby.  While Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR, known to most) isn’t as exciting to the palate as a craft beer, a hoppy beer or a heavy stout is not always the most refreshing after a long hike or as you make the turn to the back 9. In times like these I prefer a PBR over other mass-produced beers.PBR pours a pale-yellow color, but who are we kidding, just drink it out of the can.  The flavor has previously won this beer a blue ribbon, but is often compared to slightly flavored water, so be prepared to be underwhelmed as you drink this beer.  The cost of PBR is much less expensive than craft beers, so next time you are looking to fill your cooler or golf bag (shhh, that’s illegal in Michigan) grab yourself an ice-cold PBR.

sam-adams-porch-rockerSAMUEL ADAMS PORCH ROCKER – Boston Beer Company limited release
Andrew’s Pick

This summer beer from the makers of Samuel Adam’s Boston Lager is the perfect refreshment on a hot summer’s day. I like to drink lighter beers in the summer, and sometimes that beer/lemonade combo of a Radler or Shandy style beer hits the spot. Unfortunately, some varieties of this style can taste a little artificial (think Leinenkugel’s Summer Shandy) so I would avoid them more often than not – until I first tried Sam Adam’s take on it. Brewed with Tettnang Tettnanger hops and lager fermented, Porch Rocker is a tasty Radler beer with true craft brewing roots.

Cheers to Spring

This weekend I discovered a new summer / spring beverage that is not only delicious and refreshing, but it is fairly low cal too! This magical concoction was born after a sneaky little ad popped up on my Facebook (which usually is super annoying, but this time I was grateful and intrigued).

Here was the advertisement that showed up:

photo 1

Hmmmm Smirnoff Sorbet Light you say? This particular drink features the Raspberry Pomegranate flavor, however they also offer Mango Passion Fruit and Lemon — but those are different drinks for a different weekend.

These new full-flavored, sorbet-inspired vodkas are made with natural fruit flavor, containing strong fruit notes and a cool, refreshing finish. Like I mentioned before, they are low cal with only 78 calories per 1.5 fl. oz.

Ok, back to the recipe! So the ad that popped up encouraged the mixologist in you to mix the Smirnoff with pink lemonade. Sounds good, right? Well…I decided that I could do better.

SO SORBET COCKTAILphoto 3
– Smirnoff Sorbet Light (Raspberry Pomegranate)
– Crystal Light Raspberry Lemonade
– Lemon wedge
– Ice
– (optional) top with Sprite

My original version contained no Sprite, but I was missing that carbonation fizz, so I decided to add it after I snapped the photo. I highly recommend adding the Sprite, but I know some people don’t do the soda thing. Trust me, the drink is delicious both ways.

Warning: this perfectly pink thirst quencher is extremely delicious and potentially dangerous because I feel as though you could drink a full pitcher (quickly) without realizing it.

So…stand up slowly.

April is Michigan Wine Month

wine

In honor of the great state I live in, I thought it fitting to celebrate “Michigan Wine Month” on the blog! I asked a few fellow Michiganders (for those of you who don’t live here…yes, we are called that) to share their fav ‘Mitten State’ vino picks along with a few of my own! Cheers to Michigan!

Caitlen’s pick
DETENTION
Peninsula Cellars / Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City

I love Michigan.  I love Wine. Therefore, I really, really, love Michigan wine! I still cannot claim I am an expert and able to talk THE talk, so please forgive me if I don’t use the correct terminology here. When asked to pick a favorite Michigan wine, it took me about one second to decide. A couple IMG_9330years ago, in October I took a trip with my husband to Traverse City where we spent two wonderful days wine tasting. The people who worked at the wineries were friendly and interesting, the wines were delicious, and the fall colors and scenic views all around us were absolutely stunning! Michigan, truly at it’s finest. During this trip I discovered one of my favorite wines of all time at Peninsula Cellars, located on Old Mission Peninsula, just north of Traverse City, Michigan.  It is called Detention, cleverly named to tie in with the winery itself which is inside a one room school house!  This wine is a delicious red wine blend (if you really care the website says blend of Baco Noir, Lemberger, and Cabernet Franc.).

As I mentioned I don’t talk the talk (yet!), but I believe I enjoy Detention so much because it is pleasantly sweet but doesn’t just taste like juice. It has a nice medium body, paired with a berry flavor. It is a great wine if you are just starting to enjoy red wine and perhaps haven’t trained your taste buds quite yet for the super dry wines.  It really goes down easy; in fact I am drinking a glass right now! Hey, I had to do the research to make sure it was still my favorite wine before I wrote about it!   You can purchase this wine at some local stores in the metro Detroit area, so if you spot it you should buy it – you won’t regret it!

P.S. And if you do make a trip to Traverse City, make sure to also check out Chateau Fontaine and pick up their Chardonnay cheese ball mix.. It is absolutely to die for (so is their Chardonnay!).

Cindy’s pick
ARCTUROS PINOT NOIR
Black Star Farms / Suttons Bay, Michigan

pinotnoirA couple summers ago my parents went wine tasting on the Leelanau peninsula for their anniversary.  They came back with cases of wine and stories from the vineyards to share.  One of the wineries they visited was Black Star Farms in Suttons Bay, Michigan.  The wine they gave me from Black Star Farms was my favorite and from then I was hooked.  I typically only drink red wines and I enjoy having a glass or two in the evening with dinner.  The Black Star Farms Arcturos Pinot Noir is one of my favorites due to its versatility.  I’ve enjoyed pairing this wine with casual and fussier dinners alike.  It’s deep and spicy enough to stand out with a steak but it also plays back up well to salmon or even homemade pizza.  It’s perfect for serving to guests, everyone loves it, but it’s also great to drink on a weeknight on the couch in your pajamas.  If you’re looking for a versatile, go-to red, consider Arcturos Pinot Noir for your own personal taste of Michigan.


After a recent wine tasting trip to Traverse City, I have a few new favorites that I encourage you to get your hands on!

A list of my picks

CELEBRATE!Chateau Chantal Winery / Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City
Semi-dry charmat method, made from Chardonnay and a splash of red wine.

BRIX – Bowers Harbor Vineyards / Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City
Bubbly! Ripe fruit flavors, complete with a soft sweetness on the finish.

SHIP OF FOOLS – Chateau Grand Traverse / Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City
Crisp dry white wine. Blanc for finesse, Gris for power and Noir for bouquet and ageability. (65% Pinot Blanc, 30% Pinot Gris, 5% Pinot Noir)

2011 PINOT NOIR – 2 Lads / Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City
Savory strawberry, earth, vanilla & cherry.

Click HERE for the ‘Official Website of Michigan Wines’ to explore more that this great state has to offer!

Gilded Glassware

I am eagerly and anxiously awaiting the release of The Great Gatsby on May 10th. ‘Eagerly’ and ‘anxiously’ might be an understatement. Have you seen the previews for this? Mesmerizing! Breathtaking! Lux! The visual interpretation of this classic, iconic story appears to be unique and dazzling.

I literally want to order my tickets right now. RIGHT. NOW.

So, now that you know I am in a ‘Gatsby’ frame of mind…my affinity for anything gold seems to be amplified. When I spotted this golden, geometric bar ware from C.Wonder, I think I may have gasped.

These Holly-wood inspired stunners are perfect for entertaining, or would be beautiful to display on your bar or bar cart (click here for my previous post on these retro stylish / functional pieces). Each rich-looking glass is sold in a set of four and would be fabulous to mix and match with one another.

Cheers!

031913_HomeNewArrivals
1. Golden Chevron DOF
2. Golden Rectangle Highball
3. Golden Stripe Highball
4. Golden Rectangle DOF
5. Golden Chevron Highball
6. Golden Stripe DOF