If you’ve been a regular reader of A Feteful Life, I’m sure you’ve noticed that we love a good cocktail. So, we couldn’t think of a better final send-off than a killer champagne cocktail to toast all of the possibilities the future holds. Champagne (or any sparkling wine for that matter) is a must for any celebration whether it be for a new beginning or for the close of a chapter in your life. We’ll definitely miss A Feteful Life but we’re sure you’ll be hearing more from us in the future. In the meantime, Fete on!
Blackberry & Thyme Sparkler (from A Feteful Life)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup blackberries (extras for garnish – 2 per glass)
3 sprigs of fresh thyme (extra for garnish – 1 sprig per glass)
Chilled sparkling wine
Place the sugar, water, blackberries, and thyme into a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Let the mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes to let the berries and thyme release their flavor. Strain the mixture into a glass bowl and let cool completely.
Pour 1/2 ounce of the blackberry mixture into the bottom of a champagne flute. Then top off with sparkling wine. Garnish with the remaining blackberries and thyme.
A few years ago, we spent some celebratory time in South Carolina and a lot of that time with sweet tea vodka. Needless to say, we’ve been on a sweet tea vodka break for a few years (really, a few years was warranted). But I broke it back out to try this fabulous fall chai cocktail. It’s iced, but still warms you up. And it’s delicious.
Chai Tea Cocktail (adapted from Plum Deluxe)
– 4 ounces cold chai tea concentrate
– 2 ounces sweet tea vodka
– splash of cream
Directions: Add all ingredients to a glass filled with ice. Stir gently and sip.
This cocktail – it’s fall in a glass and it’s wonderful! I did a fairly classic version of the shandy this summer but this one might be my favorite variation. I’m a huge fan of pumpkin but generally not in the drink form with the exception of pumpkin beer. It’s not overly pumpkiny but it has a nice addition of spices that I love. Combining it with some lemon juice and sparkling apple cider just enhanced everything I love about it. Happy Fall!
Pumpkin Shandy (adapted from Brit+Co)
1 bottle of pumpkin beer
Sparkling apple cider
half a lemon juiced
slice of lemon for garnish
Add a cinnamon stick to your glass (I used a pint glass but you could any glass that holds a beer). Pour between 1/2 and 3/4 of your beer into the glass, add the juice of half a lemon, and top off with the sparkling cider (be careful because the cider can easily foam over the glass). Garnish with a lemon slice and enjoy!
I wanted to make a sweet (but not too sweet) cocktail to help celebrate Rosh Hashana using festive holiday flavors. I love, love this drink and the added fun of the pomegranate ice cubes. Moreover, it’s incredibly easy (and still delicious) to make as a mocktail for those who are abstaining from alcohol. Happy New Year, all!
Spiced Pomegranate Cocktail (adapted from Honestly Yum)
– 1 1/2 oz vodka
– 1 – 1/2 oz pomegranate sparkling soda (or plain pomegranate juice)
– 1/2 oz lime juice
– 1/2 oz vanilla cardamom syrup
– dash of bitters
– pomegranate ice cubes* and sprig of fresh mint for garnish
Vanilla Cardamom Syrup
– 1/2 cup sugar
– 1/2 cup water
– 1 tsp vanilla extract
– 6 cardamom pods, cracked open and ground with mortar + pestle
1. To make vanilla cardamom syrup, add water and sugar to a small saucepan and heat until sugar dissolves. Add vanilla extract and ground cardamom and let simmer two minutes before removing from heat. Cool to room temperature and strain through a fine mesh strainer.
2. Fill a glass with pomegranate ice cubes and add vodka, pomegranate sparkling soda, lime juice, vanilla cardamom syrup and dash of bitters. Stir and then garnish with fresh mint.
3. To make this a mocktail, leave out vodka and bitters and add either more pomegranate sparkling soda or sparkling water.
*fill ice cube trays with pomegranate seeds and then with water. freeze overnight.
While I usually make the mental shift from summer to fall after Labor Day, the actual change of season doesn’t happen until September 22nd. So, in honor of this last week of summer I’m making one last “tropical” cocktail. And, I say that in quotes because most tropical cocktails (and daiquiris for that matter) are super sweet. But this daiquiri is very different — there’s not even an ounce of simple syrup in there!
This cocktail was created at El Floridita in Havana, Cuba whose claim to fame is their creation of the classic daiquiri along with their most famous regular customer, Ernest Hemingway. Apparently, he spent a lot of time there drinking lots of daiquiris and this particular variation became his favorite. And, I have to agree with Hemingway, it’s definitely my favorite daiquiri as well.
So, here’s to summer! Cheers, it was fun. Now bring on the apple picking, pumpkin patch visiting, and turkey roasting. I’m ready for you fall!
The Hemingway Daiquiri (from El Floridita via the kitchn)
2 ounces light rum, such as Flor de Caña Extra Dry 4 Year
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice
1/2 ounce maraschino liqueur
Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker. Add ice and shake vigorously for 10 seconds. Strain the contents into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a lime wheel.
Fall might be coming, but I’m not ready to give up my refreshing, warm-weather gin drinks just yet. It’s no secret that we’ve been obsessed with the Gin Rickey this past summer, but I was in need of a little variety. Plus, my husband has been traveling internationally a bunch and likes to pick up local spirits to bring home. A recent trip to London brought me back one of my other favorite gins: Hendrick’s. Hence, this week’s cocktail hour. It’s light, refreshing, and includes veggies. Perfect.
English Garden Gin + Tonic (adapted from Kindred Cocktails)
– 2, 1/2″ slices of cucumber (plus a few thin slices for garnish)
– 1/4 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
– 4-8 drops rose water (to taste)
– 1/4 ounce St. Germain
– 2 ounces Hendrick’s Gin
– tonic water
1. Muddle cucumber, lime juice and rose water in shaker. Add St. Germain and Hendrick’s. Shake with ice.
2. Strain into glass with fresh ice and top with tonic water.
3. Garnish with cucumber slices.
I’m on a big Italian kick right now. I love how simple combinations of flavors can become something truly spectacular. And, this cocktail is exactly that — spectacular. I’ve had several greyhounds in my day but the addition of some rosemary sugar and bitters really takes this one to the next level. If the grapefruit juice is a bit thick or sweet for you, you could always add some club soda to lighten it up.
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1/4 cup sugar
1 ounce gin
4 ounces pink grapefruit juice
Combine the finely chopped rosemary and the sugar in a small bowl and place on a rimmed plate. Wet the rim of your glass with some of the grapefruit juice and place in the sugar mixture to coat. Fill the glass with ice and add the gin and grapefruit juice. Top off with a dash or two of bitters, then stir gently. Add a sprig of rosemary for garnish. Enjoy!
Yes, another fruit-laden cocktail from me this week. I can’t help it — I’ve just been loving the combo of fresh fruit and spirits all summer long. This one’s a two-stepper and requires a few days preparation, but it’s worth it. I first made blood orange infused tequila, which sounds fancy, but is super simple to do. And then I shook that pretty colored spirit up with lime and club soda for a refreshing cocktail. Hey it’s good to hydrate while imbibing, right?
Blood Orange Tequila + Lime Spritzer (A Feteful Life)
– 4 ounces blood orange tequila (recipe below)
– 1.5 cups club soda
– 1/8 cup fresh lime juice
– 1/8 cup agave nectar
– 1 lime, thinly sliced (set aside a few slices for garnish)
1. Fill cocktail shaker halfway with ice and add all ingredients. Shake, shake, shake.
2. Strain into cocktail glass and garnish with extra lime slices.
Blood Orange Tequila
– 1 bottle good silver tequila (750 ml)
– 2 blood oranges, cut into 1/2″ slices
1. Place blood orange slices in a large container (like an 800 ml mason jar) and pour tequila in (I had a little tequila leftover that wouldn’t fit — I’m sure we’ll use it somehow).
2. Place in refrigerator for 3 days, giving it a good shake and rotating it daily.
Apple season is upon us and this cocktail is a must for any apple lover out there. Plus, it uses some of that huge bottle of St. Germain that I bought while I was at the beach so, double bonus. The original recipe calls for 4 ounces of apple juice which I find makes it a bit too sweet for my liking. So, I would recommend going down to 2-3 ounces and adding more club soda.
St. Germain Sparkler (adapted from Food & Wine)
1 ounce St. Germain
1 ounce Green Hat Gin (or vodka)
2-3 ounces good quality apple juice (or cider)
Apple slices for garnish
In a wine glass filled with ice, add the St. Germain, gin, and apple juice. Stir to combine. Top off with club soda and garnish with an apple slice or two.
Having my kids home all summer has been both wonderful and trying — particularly so on grocery store trips, which they love to do and I always think sounds like such a good opportunity. They’ll be helpful, and they’ll learn how to read prices, and taste new things. And they do. And then they also want everything they see and I end up spending gobs of money on stuff we either shouldn’t eat or couldn’t possibly eat before it spoils. Hence this week’s cocktail hour recipe of fresh fruit. Yes, they NEEDED white peaches. “We LOVE peaches!” But wouldn’t you know that they wouldn’t eat a gosh darn peach once we got home. Cue googling “white peach cocktails.” A lot of sangria results, of which I’m not a big fan. Don’t get me wrong, I love wine. I just don’t love fruit and wine. And then I ran across a sweet-looking recipe for a white peach fizz using fresh fruit. Add in blackberries + mint and I had a delicious cocktail that used up some sweet summer produce. Win, win.
White Peach + Blackberry Gin Fizz (based on Adventures in Cooking)
Makes 2 cocktails
– 1/2 cup good gin, chilled
– 1 cup club soda, chilled
– 1-2 tablespoons white peach simple syrup* (recipe below), chilled
– 4 blackberries
– 8 white peach slides (4 for muddling, 4 for garnish)
– a handful of mint leaves
1. Muddle 2 peach slices, 2 blackberries, and a few mint leaves in the bottom of each serving glass.
2. Split gin, club soda, and simple syrup between the two. Stir until well blended.
3. Float the remaining two peach slices on the top of the drink. Serve immediately.
*use less simple syrup (1/2 tbs per drink) if you like your cocktails not too sweet and just add more club soda
White Peach Simple Syrup (slightly adapted from Adventures in Cooking)
– 1/2 cup water
– 1/2 cup turbinado sugar
– 1 white peach, sliced into 1/2″ thick slices
1. Macerate the white peach slices in a small saucepan with the sugar and water.
2. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat, then lower the heat to a simmer and allow it to cook for 30 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely. Then strain peach pulp out and reserve syrup. Keep the syrup refrigerated until use.