Cocktail Hour: Bufala Negra

A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Bufala Negra

Ok, you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. I was a bit hesitant to give this one a try because the thought of using balsamic vinegar in a cocktail sounded a bit weird to me and I like weird cocktails. But then I remembered just how much I love those Olive Oil Muffins I make and they have balsamic in them so I figured I should give it a try. And boy am I glad I did – I absolutely love this drink! It is refreshing but deep in flavor and not overly sweet. I used a very spicy ginger ale so that probably helped cut the sweetness a bit.

A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Bufala Negra

A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Bufala Negra

A Feteful Life: Cocktail Hour - Bufala Negra

Bufala Negra (from Food & Wine)


4 basil leaves
1 teaspoon aged balsamic vinegar
1/2 ounce simple syrup
1 1/2 ounces bourbon
1 1/2 ounces ginger ale (I like Q Drinks the best and I find it at Whole Foods)


In a cocktail shaker, muddle 3 of the basil leaves with the vinegar and Simple Syrup. Add ice and the bourbon and shake well. Strain the drink into an ice-filled rocks glass, stir in the ginger ale and garnish with the remaining basil leaf.



Derby Day Mint Juleps

I love Derby Day. While the main race might only last a few minutes, it’s always a great day watching the lead-up races, learning about the amazing horses who are going to compete, eating cucumber sandwiches, and sipping some mint juleps. I love a classic mint julep but this year I’m going to branch out a bit and try one of these variations on the original. Which is your favorite?

A Feteful Life: Mint Julep RoundupGinger Mint Julep with Pineapple from theKitchn | Cynar Julep from Saveur | Orange Mint Julep by Bobby Flay | Cherry Mint Julep by Trisha Yearwood | Blueberry Mint Julep from how sweet it is | Classic Mint Julep from Bon Appetite 



Cocktail Hour: Sparkling Bourbon Side Car

A Feteful Life: Sparkling Bourbon Side CarMy husband is a big fan of bourbon (and scotch) and while he normally drinks them straight or on the rocks, I’m always on the hunt for a good cocktail for him to mix things up. For his speakeasy birthday party this year we served a classic sidecar, which uses cognac as the main ingredient along with cointreau and lemon juice. It was delicious but I figured it might be even better substituting the bourbon for the cognac. I was right!

In addition to substituting the bourbon for the cognac, I also decide to serve it over some crushed ice and top it off with some sparkling water. So, essentially, it’s not a true sidecar anymore but the flavor profile is still there and it is delicious!

Sparkling Bourbon Sidecar (recipe by A Feteful Life)

2 ounces quality bourbon
1 ounce cointreau
1 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
club soda


In a cocktail shaker filled with ice, combine the bourbon, cointreau and lemon juice. Shake to combine. Strain into a old fashioned glass filled with ice. Top off with club soda and garnish with a lemon or orange wedge.

Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

A Feteful Life: Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

I know, I know. Bourbon yesterday and bourbon today. But, over here at AFL, we love our booze AND we follow important food holidays. In case you are not quite so gastronomically-obsessed, we wanted to make sure you knew that this Sunday the 19th is National Popcorn Day! Because what better way to celebrate a FOOD holiday then with FOOD. I originally planned to make three different popcorn recipes to share, including (1) bacon and truffle salt; (2) bourbon caramel; and (3) sriracha ranch. I made the first and it turned out awful — way too much flavor competition — no one wanted to eat it. It had been a time consuming and not cheap recipe (truffle salt is EXPENSIVE) and I was not happy. Fortunately, my second recipe fared far better. Not surprisingly, bourbon + caramel = amazing. I should have started there, but instead, I knew well enough to stop there. I didn’t even attempt the sriracha ranch. So, here you have it. And even if you don’t eat popcorn (I generally don’t) or aren’t in the popcorn holiday mood, make yourself some bourbon caramel sauce. I can’t imagine it tasting less than amazing on anything. Ice cream, nuts, fruit. Heck make it just to eat all by itself.

Bourbon Caramel Popcorn (from Confessions of a Foodie Bride)

– 6 cups popped popcorn (the yield from 1/3 rounded cup of kernels)
– cooking spray or parchment paper
– 6 tbsp butter
– 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
– 3 tbsp light corn syrup
– heaping 1/4 tsp salt, plus more for sprinkling
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 4 tbsp bourbon

– Preheat oven to 300.
– Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray or line it with parchment. Have a rubber spatula handy.
– Heat the butter, sugar, molasses, corn syrup, and salt in a medium saucepan over medium-hight heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture comes to a boil, cook another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the whisky (watch for splatters) and vanilla.
– Stir and immediately pour over the popcorn. Use a rubber spatula to stir until the popcorn is nicely coated and then transfer to the baking sheet, spreading out to an even layer. Sprinkle with additional salt if desired.
– Bake for 35 minutes, stirring once halfway through. Let cool for about 15 minutes before eating.
A Feteful Life: Bourbon Caramel Popcorn
A Feteful Life: Bourbon Caramel Popcorn

Cocktail Hour: The Bourbon Bomber

A Feteful Life: The Bourbon Bomber

My husband is a big fan of bourbon. He normally drinks it just on the rocks, but I took advantage of some holiday downtime {read opportunity for day drinking with childcare covered} to make a round of these winter-perfect Bourbon Bombers. And another round. And then maybe another. They are full of spice and everyone loved them. You might want to get a triple-sized cocktail shaker ahead of time. You’ll  need it.

The Bourbon Bomber (from the Life Styled)

3/4 cup apple cider
1/4 – 1/2 cup bourbon
1 1/2 tsp agave nectar
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp lemon zest
1/2 tsp nutmeg, ground
drop of bitters
pinch of grated ginger
rosemary sprig, for garnish

In a cocktail shaker, add a few ice cubes, bourbon, apple cider, agave nectar, allspice, lemon zest, nutmeg and a pinch of grated ginger. Shake well. Strain the drink into a glass filled with ice. Top with a drop of bitters and a rosemary sprig for garnish.
I used 1/4 cup of bourbon in the first batch, which everyone proclaimed to be over-spiced and under-boozed. They like ’em strong, so I went up to 1/2 cup of bourbon per batch thereafter. It cut the spice, but, be careful, they go down super easy and 1/2 cup of bourbon is not for everyone.