pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora

pimm’s cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub

You know those blogs that actually inspire you? To do more, to attempt more, to think outside your norm? I can’t say when exactly I started following Sherrie Castellano‘s colorful, plant-based blog, With Food & Love, but I can definitely say that I was immediately smitten. Sherrie is a certified health coach, focusing on a plant-based diet, and has the most engaging and vibrant IG account. Sherrie, along with Renée Byrd of Will Frolic for Food, put together the most superb summer cocktail round-up, #DRINKTHESUMMER, highlighting summer’s in-season flavors with innovative twists.

I’m super stoked to be a part of this drink-driven mayhem and talk about how Pimm’s happily takes up so much of my summer. Let’s raise a glass, soak it all in, and drink the summer.

pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora

I’m leading this post with some serious gratitude. As I sit down to type this post, my fingers feel heavy, and my back aches from a long shift. I take a deep sigh, and all that immediately comes to mind are the stressful matters: the to-dos, the deadlines, the hectic scenes throughout my workday, or that impatient guest who yelled at me, demanding a last-minute table. I find myself so tempted to quickly write out the negative and expound upon the pressing matters. I curl my fingers into a fist. Sometimes, you just need a release, you know?

pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora

Instead, I pour myself a glass of rosé and lightly pet my tabby cat, who gracefully jumps onto my mouse pad.

Tonight, after a particularly stressful evening, I am resisting the urge for a negative slant and writing about the flip-side. There is always something beautiful happening, something exciting to report, something that brings a smile. I think that everyone  who has worked, in some capacity, within the restaurant or hospitality business can relate to the heaviness that frequently ensues. Whatever your role, you’re always in character, making people happy and giving them the best dose of hospitality that you can, even when you feel like crap.

I seriously perform my best, however, when my “reservoir” is full. When I take the time to breathe, spend time with my loved ones, get my fingers into the garden soil, or squeeze in a soak in the tub, I am a better person to everyone around me. Steve and I took a day off together this past week to recharge, let go of our obligations, and celebrate the wedding of two of our dearest friends, Erin and John.

pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora

Earlier this evening, despite the madness of a 45-minute wait, an unexpected rainstorm that drove guests indoors, and an oversold reservation book, I pulled strength and peace from that reservoir within, which I had filled earlier during the week.

Erin and John said their wedding vows at the beautiful Lyons Farmette, along the Front Range, here in Colorado. The sun shone through puffy, white clouds, and the chickens and goats were roaming free, singing along with the chorus the one-acre farm had already begun. I felt so at home with their small group of loved ones. We played corn-hole, attempted life-sized Jenga, strolled through a verdant garden, sat by a mountain stream, and built a late-afternoon bonfire.

Love was in the air; it always is. Life is good. It’s what you make it out to be. There are good times, so-so times, and terrible times that you’d like to forget. I’m choosing to focus on the positive and let those accompanying feelings dictate my thought-life. Tomorrow is my day off, and I’m setting aside time too see a good friend {that’s you, Batya!} and taking advantage of the life within my garden. Cucumbers are abundant, mint is going crazy, and I have a full bottle of Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur beckoning me. I know what to do.

Now, ’bout that cocktail.

pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora

If you’re new to Pimm’s No. 1, it’s a gin-based liqueur with notes of spices and citrus. It’s great on the rocks with lemonade or ginger ale, but it’s stellar with berries, cucumbers and citrus slices. You really can’t mess up a Pimm’s cocktail. Let me know if you have, and I’ll fix this post and warn the others what not to do. ;-)

I’d heard about Pimm’s, but I’d never tried a Pimm’s cocktail, until I visited Scotland a few years ago. A new friend ordered me a “Pimm’s Cup” at a small, stonewalled pub, and I figured I’d give it a try. It was pretty much summer-in-a-glass. The traditional version calls for a simple combination of Pimm’s and lemonade, along with some mint, orange slices, strawberries, and cucumbers. For my version, I perpetuated the tart citrus-y component but added the depth of summer blackberries and the bright notes from mint and fresh strawberries. Pimm’s even makes a limited edition Blackberry & Elderflower version, so they’re already onto this flavor combination.

If I’ve tempted you already, I’m going to hit you with the bad news: you’ll have to wait a week to enjoy this cocktail. But it will be completely worth your time. One of the best parts of this cocktail is the tart and refreshing addition of a shrub or drinking vinegar. Read this post I wrote about shrubs earlier this year, if you’re thirsty for more information on its origins and its overall likeability.

pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora


pimm’s cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub


  • 1 1/2 ounces Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur
  • 1 ounce blackberry + lemon zest shrub {see recipe below}
  • 1/2 ounce Solerno blood orange liqueur
  • 3-4 ounces ginger ale, to taste {I used Q Ginger}
  • 2 strawberries, quartered
  • 2 cucumber slices, plus additional slices or spears for garnish
  • 6 mint leaves, plus one mint sprig for garnish
  • 2-3 lemon wheels
  • 1 sprig tarragon
  1. Fill a tall, Pilsner-style glass with ice. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing tin, muddle the cucumber slices and mint leaves well.
  3. Add ice, Pimm’s No. 1 liqueur, blackberry + lemon zest shrub, and Solerno blood orange liqueur.
  4. Shake vigorously for a solid ten seconds and strain into the iced glass.
  5. Garnish with the quartered strawberries, cucumber slices or spears, mint sprig, lemon wheels, and tarragon sprig.
  6. Finish with 3-4 ounces of a zesty ginger ale.
  • This recipe yields one cocktail.
  • If you don’t have a Pilsner-style glass, just use a taller glass, so you have enough room for the ginger ale and the multiple garnishes. I recently broke my last set of Pilsner glasses, so I used a stemless wine glass in a pinch. Hey, it tastes the same, right?
  • Look for a zesty ginger ale that packs a spicy bite. I really like Q’s ginger ale for this reason. Avoid an overly sugary style.

IMG_8493 pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora

I made my blackberry shrub about a week ago, so it was ready to drink today. Shrubs are basically a tart, refreshing, vinegar-based combination of fruit {or vegetables} and sugar. I keep some sort of shrub in my refrigerator at all times. They’re the perfect addition to soda water, and they add both tart and sweet components to cocktails in one sweep. This particular recipe is ace, if it’s your first attempt.


blackberry + lemon zest shrub


  • 1 1/2 cups blackberries
  • zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  1. In a medium-sized bowl, muddle the blackberries, along with the lemon zest and cane sugar, being sure to crush the blackberries and express as much of the juice as you can.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for 24 hours, stirring the mixture, when you think about it.
  3. Pour the mixture through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer into a small bowl, pressing the berries to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  4. Add the apple cider vinegar to the blackberry mixture, whisking until any undissolved sugar is incorporated.
  5. Pour the vinegar mixture into a clean mason jar, cover with a lid, and store it in the refrigerator for a week, so that the flavors integrate. If you think about it, shake the mixture occasionally.
  • Compost the blackberry solids or use them as a topping for a small tart or a delicious addition to yogurt and granola.
  • You may substitute lime zest, if you don’t have lemons on hand, but I really prefer how the tart lemons play with the notes in the Pimm’s No.1.
  • If you have a lot of mint at your fingertips, add a few leaves to the mixture of blackberries, zest, and sugar, muddling well. It will take your cocktails to another level with the added depth.
  • Always use organic berries and citrus, since their skins absorb chemicals so easily. You don’t want those in your cocktails.

pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora pimm's cup with blackberry + lemon zest shrub | holly & flora

So, how popular is Pimm’s in your bar cart? Is this your first taste? If it’s not your summer staple already, give this recipe a go. It’s not too heavy on the alcohol, either. Feel free to swap out my garnish suggestions with whatever is blooming or seasonal in your garden. I love adding rhubarb, lemon, borage, or raspberries to my Pimm’s cocktails. Why not a raspberry shrub? Just substitute the blackberries with whatever berries you have in your fridge or in your garden.

Cheers to a week of filling up your reservoir, to seeking out the brilliant and positive, to focusing on the good that’s out there, and to making time for friends.

XO,

Jayme

Oh! And here are the other awesome and inspiring cocktails within Sherrie and Renée’s blogtastic #DRINKTHESUMMER roundup. You’re thirsty. I’m thirsty. We’re both dying to try a few of these very soon. There’s something here for everyone, whether you want/need a little booze in your life or not. Cheers!


With Food + Love | Fresh Heirloom Bloody Marys with Old Bay and Spicy Pickles

Will Frolic for Food | The Sugar Hollow: Watermelon Gin Cocktail with Cardamom and Lime

Kale & Caramel | Sweet Coconut Slushie with Spiced Agua Fresca de Jamaica

Hummingbird High | Thyme Lemonade

Brooklyn Supper | Bloody Maria Cocktails

Cake Over Steak | Blackberry Bourbon Cocktail

Loves Food, Loves to Eat | Coconut Nectarine White Wine Spritzers

Dunk & Crumble | Ginger Peach Whiskey Smash

Tasty Yummies | When Figs Fly: Spiced Rum Fig Kombucha Cocktail

Feed Me Phoebe | Pimm’s Cup Cocktail with Fresh Ginger, Lime and Tarragon

Earthy Feast | Strawberry, Basil and Pink Peppercorn Negroni

Ginger & Toasted Sesame | Blackberry Peach Margarita with Spicy Salt

O&O Eats | The Long Hope: a Honeydew Cucumber Gin Cocktail

my name is yeh | Nutella Egg Cream

Faring Well | Sparkling Melon Coolers with Muddled Raspberries and Mint

Beard and Bonnet | Pineapple and Cilantro Moscow Mule

The Pancake Princess | Strawberry Balsamic Shrubs

Edible Perspective | Rosé Slushies

Vegetarian ‘Ventures | Sparkling Peppered Plum Blush

The Broken Bread | Blackberry, Cucumber and Mint Gin Spritzer

Tending the Table | Plum Spritzer with Ginger and Kafir Lime

Appeasing a Food Geek | Sugar Plum Margarita

She Eats | Fizzy Lime and Blackberry Shrub

holly & flora | Pimm’s Cup with Blackberry and Lemon Zest Shrub

Vigor and Sage | Peachy Tomato Basil Gin and Tonic

The Pig & Quill | Raspberry Basil Gingerade Fizz

Hungry Girl por Vida | Peanut Butter and Berry Smoothie

A Brown Table | Fig and Bourbon Summer Smash

The Clever Carrot | 5 Minute White Peach Margaritas

Cookie and Kate | Watermelon Sangria

le jus d’orange | Peach Yogurt Soju and Ginger Plum Kombucha Cocktail

Chocolate + Marrow | Raspberry Thyme Smash

The Bojon Gourmet | Basil Pluot Pimm’s Cup

Snixy Kitchen | Sparkling Asian Pear and Mint Iced Tea

what’s cooking good looking | Watermelon Basil Colada

i am a food blog | Thyme Gin and Tonics

Fix Feast Flair | Peachy Kentucky Mules


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summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora

summer dill + snap pea shim | tips on growing dill

This is my favorite time of year. I guess I’ve said that about early September, when the aspens are starting to change, and I’ve definitely made mention that late March is a beautiful time of spring, when the first purple crocuses pop up in my front yard. I should more aptly state that I just really enjoy living in the moment and soaking up whatever specialties each season sends my way.

Right now, the garden is seriously showing off. Case in point, I have dill towering above my head at seven feet tall. Seven feet tall! We even had to construct a containing method, so that it wouldn’t tumble over from its weight on the rest of the garden. No complaints. This just means lots of pickling coming up for us.

summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora

I’ve also enjoyed muddling and incorporating dill, along with whatever herbs are within reach, into my cocktails. I really aim to make them refreshing, balanced, and not too heavy-handed on the alcohol. Some might argue, “What’s the point of making a cocktail, if you keep it low on the alcohol content?” Well, for one, if it tastes delicious, I want seconds. Maybe even thirds. So, keeping a low proof (read: not getting day drunk) is optimal for me, especially when I’m out working in the yard in the hot sun.

On a recent trip to California, Steve and I stayed in the town of Geyserville. He was taking part in the Alexander Valley Cabernet Academy, where he toured some of the best sites for Cabernet and met some of the most innovative winemakers within the Alexander Valley. I traveled with him, but I went my own direction each day. I made several appointments at some of my favorite wineries, like Benovia and Martinelli, but I also left room to explore.

One of my favorite places I stumbled upon was the most beautiful shop and café, SHED, in the town of Healdsburg, about a ten minute drive south from Geyserville. I could seriously live in this shop, and I actually ended up staying there for a couple of hours. Not only does the shop boast a cocktail bar, complete with shrub cocktails and kombucha on tap, but it also has a proper cheese shop, a gorgeous flower cart, and a sprawling variety of beautiful kitchenware. SHED even offers grain-milling classes, beekeeping courses, and gardening workshops.

summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora

After meeting up with my friend, Duff, for breakfast at the café, I chose to sit up at the bar and enjoy a “shim” cocktail. A shim is the answer to the quandary I spoke of a few paragraphs back: a “sessionable” cocktail that won’t get you over-intoxicated. When I asked the bartender about the drink, she handed me a copy of Dinah Sanders‘ book, The Art of the Shim: Low-Alcohol Cocktails to Keep You Level. She’s the original coiner of the term, shim. I thumbed through the pages and knew this book was for me. Since then, I’ve been replicating some of her recipes and dabbling a little on my own low-alcohol libations.

This particular recipe lets sake take the lead role, providing a marvelous texture, bright notes, and a floral component that marries perfectly with the herbaceous additions. I began fiddling around with this cocktail about five weeks ago, when Danguole of 10th Kitchen‘s photo of a spring pea sake cocktail popped up on my Instagram feed. Vegetables and herbs in a cocktail? I’m completely in. I love beet juice with gin and carrot juice with vodka, so sake paired with spring peas sounded intriguing.

summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora


summer dill + snap pea shim


  • 2 snap pea pods with tendrils for garnish
  • 2 slices cucumber
  • 1 sprig dill with extra for garnish
  • 1 half-inch slice preserved lemon {optional}
  • 1 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 2 1/2 ounces Junmai sake {I used Shimizu-No-Mai “Pure”}
  • 1/2 ounce limoncello {my house-made version, yo}
  • 1/2 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • soda water
  1. In a mixing tin, muddle the snap pea pods, cucumber, dill, and preserved lemon, along with the St. Germain.
  2. Add ice, the sake, limoncello, and lemon juice.
  3. Shake well and double strain into a cocktail glass filled with fresh ice.
  4. Add a splash or so of soda and garnish with a pea tendril and a dill blossom.
  5. Go back for seconds without any guilt.

summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora


“We drink to connect  —  Perhaps that is why cocktails are a product of the modern world. As our ability to escape our present surroundings has grown, we’ve needed a ritual to bring us back.”

—  Dinah Sanders


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This week, specifically, has been a hectic one. This past Friday was the third of eight concerts that we hold at the restaurant throughout the summer. I have learned to dread Friday nights because of this production. I don’t even take vacations during this two month stretch. It may not sound like much, but the amount of brain power, emotional toll, lack of sleep, and physical labor it takes to produce a party of epic proportions at an already busy, upscale steakhouse is staggering. I’m talking well over 1,000 guests, dancing to 80s cover bands, and slurping down pineapple martinis…smh.

I don’t drink heavily on those nights. I mean, I want to, but I already know I’m going to have a “work hangover” the following morning, so why further compound the issue? Seriously, each Friday night sets me back about two days. All I want to do is sleep come Sunday morning. On any other given night of the week, when I’m working, I’m selling wine, putting together wine pairings, and talking with familiar regulars. A Friday night during the concert series? I could be breaking up a brawl outside on the patio, sweeping up broken glass, covering my mouth while mopping up the remnants of someone’s upset stomach, or throwing out “that guy,” who won’t stop creeping out the ladies.

I definitely earn whatever I’m drinking on Monday afternoon. Lemme tell you…

summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora

So, now that I’ve painted a picture of what the start of my weekends entails over the summer, I’m sure you’re ready for a drink, yourself. Dinah Sanders’ book of low-alcohol cocktails will keep you engaged and spark your cocktail-concocting creativity. And you won’t curse my name the next morning, if you have a couple of them.

Right now, my sleep schedule is so messed up. As I write, I am also googling ways to use lavender to induce sleep {I’m wide awake at 4:00 AM}. Don’t be surprised if my next blog post includes something sleep-inducing. Regardless, I am still planning on waking at 8:00 to tend to the garden. I’ll pull on my slippers, don my sunnies, and slowly schlep on the flagstone path to water my green children. With squinty eyes and a happy, albeit sleepy, heart, I’ll welcome the heat and beckon the sun. They’ve both been so good to us this year.

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tips for growing dill


  • Site  —  Dill thrives in a spot, protected from strong winds and exposed to full sun. It’s more suitable for outdoor gardening, but it will grow well in containers.
  • Soil  —  Plant dill in rich, well-drained soil.
  • Sun    Dill absolutely loves the sun. I plant mine right in the middle of my garden, and it has grown over seven feet tall. It has also sprung up in a part-shade area of the garden, and although it has only grown to four feet in height, it is still prolific and aromatic.
  • Water    Dill seems to be pretty drought-tolerant; it doesn’t droop when deprived of water for a day or two. Thoroughly water the soil, when it is dry to the touch.
  • Harvesting  —   Clip dill sprigs when needed. Use them unabashedly when quick-pickling or making dill-based cocktails. Dill leaves taste their best, when they are harvested before the plant flowers. Pick them either early in the day or late in the afternoon. If you are harvesting the seeds, cut the seed heads 2-3 weeks after the plant has flowered. Hang the seed heads upside down in a brown, paper bag, in order to catch the seeds. You may also do what we do, and just let the dill flower, go to seed, and shed the seed. We look forward to dill plants sprouting up the following spring. You may either keep them where they sprout or transplant them.
  • Preserving  —  I try to use dill leaves, whenever they are ready. Clip a few sprigs and place them in a glass of water; they will last a few days either on the counter top or in the fridge. You may also layer clippings of dill in a jar of sea salt. Just remove the dill and rinse it, whenever you’re ready to use it. Dill also freezes and dries well. Don’t forget about dill vinegar.

Over the past few weeks, I have been writing a succession of posts on growing and preserving herbs over at the Kitchn. Here are a few links of my favorite posts from the Herb Gardening 101 series, and they are all photographed from my garden:

summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & flora summer dill + snap pea shim | how to grow dill | holly & floraCheers to a great rest of the weekend! With tomatoes finally ripening on the vines, herbs spilling over in the flower beds, and eggplants already on the grill, our garden is in full swing. The next two months will be filled with energy and growth and transformation. I’m reveling in this season. And I’m on the lookout for ways to extend my harvest and ways to extend my cocktail-enjoying ability. Bring on the shims, bring on the preserves.

Bring on summer!

XO,

Jayme

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strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | holly & flora

strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | #popsicleweek

Happy Popsicle Week!

There are only a couple more days of this official celebration of all-things-frozen-and-delicious, hosted by the creative and affable, Billy of Wit & Vinegar. This is year two of his popsicle round-up, featuring a lineup of insanely creative recipes from bloggers across the interwebs. This exhaustive list will keep you inspired and glued to your popsicle mold well into early fall.

I’ve been making some sort of fruity popsicle, since I was five. I owe any popsicle prowess to my mom. She kept it simple and would freeze our Juicy Juice in the most adorable, kid-sized Tupperware molds. I wish I still had them. I’ve since moved on to a little more “involved” popsicle, adding whole fruits, coconut milk, nuts, and even edible flowers to the mix. This summer, however, was the first time I thought of adding a little extra kick: rosé!

strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | holly & flora strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | holly & floraAround our house, with two sommeliers in the kitchen, these boozy popsicles are affectionately known as “somm pops.” I think we’d imbibed a tad too much wine one evening, when we came up with the title. We ended up sketching plans for a recipe book, featuring popsicles made with wine, perfectly paired with their other ingredients. The next morning, the whole idea sounded ridiculous, but I’m still rocking their new name!

Keep in mind that booze doesn’t freeze as solidly as water or juice does. In fact, these particular pops melt kind of quickly, if you’re standing in the hot, summer sun. I wouldn’t decrease the amount of rosé in the recipe, however. The whole point is to enjoy a delicious, frozen, sangria-like concoction on a stick. I kept mine chilling in an iced wine bucket, and they didn’t melt as fast. You’ll notice a darker color at the top of these popsicles. I added a little blackberry liqueur, just before I froze the pops. I will most likely omit this on my next recipe, since the liqueur melted almost instantly. It made for a beautiful color, though.

strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | holly & flora strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | holly & flora


strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | somm pops


  • 10 ounces dry rosé {I went with Lorenza rosé}
  • 7 ounces watermelon juice
  • 1 ounce blood orange liqueur {I used Solerno}
  • 1 ounce agave nectar
  • 1 ounce lime juice
  • 6-7 sliced strawberries
  1. Chill down your rosé, so you’ll have something to sip on, while you make your pops.
  2. Juice your watermelon. I used my Hurom juicer, but you can also simply blend watermelon chucks and then pour the juice through a fine-mesh strainer to remove any particulates.
  3. In a bowl, combine the rosé, the freshly juiced watermelon, orange liqueur, agave nectar, and lime juice. Whisk well to incorporate.
  4. Place two or three sliced strawberries into each popsicle mold and pour the rosé mixture on top, leaving about 1/4″ space at the top, so the liquid has room to expand.
  5. Add your popsicle sticks and freeze at least three hours or until solid.
  • This recipe makes ten popsicles. I used the Prepworks mold, sold on Amazon.
  • Remember, these are boooooozy pops, so they will melt faster. That’s not exactly a bad thing, when you want a light, summery buzz. You just have to enjoy them quicker.
  • Substitute any other berries you have on hand. Raspberries would be divine here.

strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | holly & flora strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | holly & flora strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | holly & flora strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | holly & floraSo, I can’t leave out a tasting note on the Lorenza rosé. It has been one of my favorite pink wines this summer. In fact, I picked up an entire case, and I’m up for another one soon. Lorenza is crafted by a lovely mother and daughter duo, Melinda Kearney and Michèle Lorenza Ouellet. Their wine is crisp, dry, delicate, and delicious. The aromas and flavors in this rosé were a perfect match for the strawberries and watermelon in the popsicles.


lorenza rosé, california, 2014


  • On the eyes  –  It’s a brilliant, pale peach.
  • On the nose  –  Slightly under-ripened strawberry, quince, and pear, with light, floral aromas.
  • In the blend  –  44% Grenache, 33% Carignan, 15% Mourvèdre, 8% Cinsault.
  • On the palate  –  This rosé is dry and crisp with a racy, mouthwatering acidity. Lean and light in body, Lorenza still has an almost satin-like mouth-feel, supplied by the rich fruit on the palate. Lots of strawberries with a clean, mineral-driven, balanced finish. More, please.
  • On the table  –  I loved pairing this rosé with a watermelon caprese salad. The acidity in the wine was a perfect complement to the fresh mozzarella. Rosé isn’t only for delicate food presentations, either. Enjoy this wine with briny oysters, any summer salads, or, one of my favorites, a veggie burger with ample amounts of avocado.
  • On the shelf  –  Find it for around $19.

strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | holly & flora strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | holly & flora strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | holly & flora strawberry + watermelon rosé popsicles | holly & floraWhat kind of popsicles are you making this summer? If you haven’t made any yet, here are a few other boozy pops I’m definitely going to try over the next few weeks. Whether you call them “poptails,” “cocktail pops,” or “somm pops,” get out and make yourself some!

I’ll add a little catch-up on the happenings from the garden this past week. It has been super hot and toasty with little rain, so I have had to water a little more frequently. No watering was necessary in June, but it is definitely the stereotypical summer now. Full-on heat and sunshine. And the new “secret garden” that we build along the side of our detached garage is seriously taking off. I’m so glad we turned a formerly fenced-in waste of space into an eye-catching and engaging edible growing area.

Happiest of weekends to you!

Jayme

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how to make limoncello | holly & flora

how to make limoncello + 2 limoncello cocktails

Spring is officially a hazy memory here in Denver. The season switched from straight winter to blazing, hot summer in a snap. All of the late spring rain and snow turned the usual, crusty, brown landscape of Colorado into a vibrant splash of bright green. I look back at some of the photos I took in early June, and I can’t believe I didn’t put a filter on them.

When I was flying back home from a recent trip to Napa, I looked down from the window in the plane in pure disbelief that I was, indeed, flying over Denver and not Ireland or some other verdant country. Everything is absolutely gorgeous, and my garden has never looked this good in early July!

I was even off work on the solstice and got to ring in the advent of shorter evenings in my backyard, with a glass of chilled rosé. I’ve been enjoying a lot of chilled rosé here lately. Come to think of it, I’ve been enjoying a lot of chilled everything here lately. Every year, Steve and I find some way to delay getting a swamp cooler for the house. We always seem to have a more pressing expense to consider, and every year, we always shake our heads and regret not making the purchase.

lemon peels in bowl how to make limoncello | holly & flora

I’ve found creative ways to keep my cool. I have grown fond of taking cold showers in the morning. I actually stood in a cooler filled with ice water just yesterday. I even succumbed to the overwhelming urge to strip down to my skivvies and run through the garden sprinkler this afternoon. Thank God for trees and fences to keep it all classy because when heat takes over my brain, I think I lose my sense of appropriateness and my self-control.

Luckily, I’ve gotten very good at seeking out air-conditioned coffee shops, sneaking the rare visit to the movie theater, and finding an excuse to go to the grocery store just to cruise the cool produce department. I am fortunate enough, however, to work at a restaurant, where there is a walk-in freezer on premise. As soon as I exit my {also without AC} car, I make a beeline to the freezer. No hellos. No courtesies. Not until I get my cold-air fix.

I decided to make limoncello back in early March, when I had an abundance of lemons on hand. I followed my obsession with all-things-citrus and made countless cocktails, a batch of preserved lemons {a first for me}, lemon curd, and several marmalade iterations. I figured I’d use the skins of the lemons I was juicing, so logically, I thought about limoncello.

I’d never made the tart, citrus liqueur before. I have had both amazingly delicious limoncello and cloyingly sweet, dull limoncello. I stumbled across a recipe, via the Williams-Sonoma blog, Taste. I followed James Schend’s recipe pretty closely, but I actually forgot about my limoncello down in the basement after week five, accidentally aging it SIX more weeks! Although I don’t know if the extra aging benefited the limoncello, I was not disappointed with my results.


how to make limoncello


  • 20 large, organic lemons
  • 750 mL of vodka
  • 750 mL of Everclear {or other 151-proof alcohol}
  • 4 cups organic cane sugar
  • 3 cups filtered water
  1. Scrub and peel the lemons, using a vegetable peeler. Try your best to avoid including any of the white pith, which adds undesirable bitterness.
  2. Place the peels in a large, clean jar and add both the vodka and the Everclear.
  3. Cover with a tight-fitting lid and store in a cool, dark spot for at least five weeks. I stored mine for 11 weeks. Stir or shake the jar twice a week to integrate the flavor.
  4. After five weeks, remove the lemon peels with a slotted spoon. To test whether or not the limoncello is ready for the next step, take a peel and bend it between your thumb and index finger. If it easily snaps in half, you may proceed to step five; if not, store for at least another week and perform the same test, after the week has passed.
  5. Strain the mixture through a double-layer of cheesecloth into a clean jar.
  6. In a saucepan, heat the sugar and water until dissolved. Remove the sugar mixture from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
  7. Add the cooled sugar-water to the limoncello mixture and stir.
  8. Store the sweetened limoncello mixture for another six weeks, so that the flavor intensifies and becomes more cohesive.
  9. When the aging time has passed, strain the final mixture through a double-layer of cheesecloth and store in a clean, glass jar or in cute, decorative jars like these.
  10. Store your containers of limoncello in the same cool, dark place, or keep it refrigerated for “emergencies” and cocktail creating!

how to make limoncello | holly & flora lemon balm | holly & flora how to make limoncello | holly & flora

Making lemony cocktails that mimic the effects of cool, refreshing lemonade is only a natural response to these high-heat, sweltering conditions. I  know I’ll get some flack from my AZ or FL friends for sounding whiny, but the lack of heat tolerance is all relative. We can all benefit from a cool respite.

These two cocktails not only incorporate my new, favorite cocktail component, limoncello, but they are also summery and herbaceous and perfect served over ice. So, don your flops, find a cute hat {or settle for a bandana, like I do}, and prop up next to a shady tree.


summertime in the garden


  • 1 1/2 ounces gin {I used Boodles}
  • 1/2 ounce limoncello
  • 1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce St. Germain elderflower liqueur
  • 1 sprig mint
  • 1 sprig lemon balm
  • 2 slices cucumber
  • splash seltzer
  1. In a mixing tin, muddle the mint, lemon balm, and cucumber slices.
  2. Add the gin, limoncello, lemon juice, and elderflower liqueur.
  3. Fill with ice and shake well.
  4. Double strain into a cocktail glass filled with fresh ice.
  5. Garnish with even more lemon balm. Slap it first, in order to release the aromatic oils. Trust me; it really works!
  6. For extra color and flavor and fun, freeze mint leaves in ice-cube trays and use them in the cocktail.

how to make limoncello | holly & flora how to make limoncello | holly & flora how to make limoncello | holly & flora how to make limoncello | holly & flora


lavender limoncello gin ricky


  • 1 1/2 ounces gin {I used Boodles}
  • 2 ounces freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce DRAM Apothecary pine syrup
  • 1/2 ounce limoncello
  • 2 ounces seltzer
  • lavender sprigs for garnish
  1. In a mixing tin, combine the gin, lemon juice, DRAM pine syrup, and limoncello.
  2. Add ice and shake well.
  3. Strain into a cocktail glass, filled with fresh ice.
  4. Top with seltzer and garnish with a sprig or two of fresh lavender.

What things are you doing to keep your cool? I seriously need some advice. I’m making popsicles like they’re going out of style, and I have had to amp up my running routine just to maintain that lavish habit! ;-)

On an exciting note, I’m excited that Steve and I are having our garden featured in our favorite local publication, Nourish Magazine, at the end of this month! We have been putting in the extra hours to make sure the garden looks its best. Here is a sneak-peak into what’s been happening in our garden over the last couple of weeks.

Cheers!

Jayme

how to make limoncello | holly & flora how to make limoncello | holly & flora how to make limoncello | holly & flora how to make limoncello | holly & flora


the june garden


spring peas | holly & flora

Creeping spring peas, along the fence. This is the first year I’ve successfully grown spring peas! We have gotten about two serious harvests, and we’ve picked a few, here and there, off the vines.

spring peas | holly & flora

Spring peas from Botanical Interests. We planted these from seed, directly into the garden soil, and they’re just now starting to slow down their production.

bolting chard | holly & flora

Swiss chard, bolting in the 90-degree weather. I just picked this out-of-line stalk of chard and put it in a smoothie.

spring garden | holly & flora

Each spring, we stage our gardening barrels to showcase different micro-climates. Here, butter crunch lettuce is growing alongside Roma tomatoes. When the tomato matures, the plant supplies a little shade, so that the lettuces can grow well into June.

spring garden | holly & flora

Alliums, or ornamental onions, bloom here during the month of May. Their skeletons decorate our June and July gardens with their spiky, orb-like shapes. If I had these, when I was younger, I would have used them as fairy wands. I do that today…

spring garden | holly & flora

Sweet Woodruff, among the snow-in-summer. We line the garden beds in the backyard with this combination. We have to trim back or transplant the Woodruff because it is so aggressive. Its dainty, white flowers are lightly scented and prolific.

spring garden | holly & flora

This is one of my most favorite color combinations of the month! Hot green, teal, and pale magenta. Love this!!

spring garden | holly & flora

We planted a “side yard garden” this year, outside this little garage, which we affectionately call, “the barn.” The new gardening area is just to the left of the building. I love these “steps” outside the door, lined by creeping thyme.

spring garden | holly & flora

Creeping thyme.

spring garden | holly & flora

We have planted multiple spireas within both our front yard and backyard. They are perennial and produce the most beautiful flowers throughout the summer months.

spring garden | holly & flora

Update on my Meyer lemon tree: here is the same lemon that has been ripening over the last SIX months! Come on, now…

the bard yard | holly & flora

Here is a glimpse of the new “secret garden” or “barn yard.” This was once a fenced-in area, which housed a lot of yard trash and building materials. We have since then cleared it out and are using a lot of the materials for summer yard projects. This area is about 4×20 feet and is now a home to two squashes, five tomatoes, four eggplants, six sweet potatoes, ten peppers, and three basils. Oh, and one catnip, three nasturtiums, one leeks plant, and a shasta daisy. I love this little area! Steve built a matching chain link fence just a weekend ago.

tomatillo | holly & flora

Tomatillos.

fennel blooms | holly & flora

Fennel blossoms among the lavender blooms.

sorrel in bloom | holly & flora

Wild sorrel in bloom, attracting lady bugs.

spring garden | holly & flora spring garden | holly & flora spring garden | holly & flora tarragon | holly & flora spring garden | holly & flora pink salvia | holly & flora spring garden | holly & flora

strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora

rhubarb + strawberry shrub mojito | the reset button

It’s amazing what a new job situation will do to your life. There is always a transition. To navigate that transitional time well, we are encouraged to slow down, settle into the newer routine, make room for exercise, focus on our breath, and keep calm and eat, drink, or do something to balance it all out.

It is so much easier said than actually done.

The first four months of this year were a financially stressful time for me. I was only working one evening each week at the restaurant, and my paid freelance jobs had stalled. In late April, I decided to take on another job, buying wine and spirits for a small wine shop here in town. The pay wasn’t great, but I kept my eyes on the promised opportunities: conducting wine-based trips, maintaining a website, and curating their social media.

It’s quite amusing how untimely life can be {or timely, perhaps}. As soon as I made that commitment to become a wine buyer, within just a couple of weeks, I was offered a raise and more shifts at the restaurant. It was an offer I couldn’t decline. Within a week, I was slammed with some writing and photography assignments. Looking back at this crazy time, I am actually shaking my head and laughing. I had to make one of the toughest decisions this year. I had to make a choice, and that choice required me to go back on my word.

I turned in my notice to the shop. I felt like absolute crap. Had I known what was coming my way only two weeks in advance, I would never have accepted that new job.

strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora

I truly wanted to just stop working at the wine shop and pretend this all hadn’t happened. Instead, I gave them proper notice, while simultaneously jumping into my new role at the restaurant. I don’t even remember much of late April, and May was a complete blur. There were a few 60-hour work weeks, copious amounts of tears, second helpings of wine, and nights where I fell asleep on my desk.

My sleep schedule was so wrecked that I was able to call my mom on two occasions, while she was getting ready for work at 5:30 in the morning. She lives in Florida, so she is two hours ahead of me. I hadn’t gone to bed yet. It was 3:30 my time, and I had to be at work at 8:00. I was breaking down. Forget about those deep breaths or proper exercise or healthy eating or, while we’re at it, a healthy relationship with your significant other.

strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora

There is a silver lining to this story. I promise.

Although I’m still recovering from the exhaustion from the last two months’ events, I am proud of myself that I persevered. I didn’t call in sick, I gave myself grace for not keeping the house clean, and I reinforced bridges that I could have potentially burned. I even capped off that whirlwind of craziness by successfully {more like miraculously!} finishing my first half-marathon. It was a rite of passage and really let me know that I’m more powerful than I give myself credit. We are all more powerful than we give ourselves credit.

I know all of us have piled on too much at once, whether or not we foresaw the outcome. How have you recovered? What tips to you have for getting the balance just right? I’m sure we can all benefit from further discussion.

rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito

I am happy to create more time to relax, get back to enjoying this blog, and run a little more. I am especially giving more attention to simply relaxing. My favorite moment last week was lying down in the back yard and staring up at the clouds. No phone. No active thinking. Just drifting.

And more time for cocktails.

Back in early March, I wrote a detailed post on how to make shrubs or drinking vinegars. They are a refreshing additive to cocktails, iced tea, lemonade, or just a little soda water. As I mentioned previously, a shrub is basically fruit, or even vegetables, combined with two other components: sugar and vinegar. After the correct ratio of those ingredients integrate over a little time, the result is a perfect balance of tartness, sugar, acidity, and texture. Shrubs are mouth-watering and concentrated, and they taste amazing when combined with soda water or integrated into a cocktail.

I made this rhubarb and strawberry shrub and have loved adding a little to homemade lemonade recently. I think I loved it best in a mojito. My mint is going crazy, so I have had to be super creative with using it in as many was as possible.


rhubarb + strawberry shrub


  • 10 ounces rhubarb, sliced into 1/4″ pieces
  • 6 ounces strawberries, hulled and sliced
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  1. In a large bowl, combine the rhubarb, strawberries, and sugar.
  2. Vigorously muddle the fruit. You really want to get out as much juice from the fruits, as you can.
  3. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside in the fridge for three days, stirring the mixture occasionally.
  4. Add the white wine vinegar, muddle the fruit a little, and stir to integrate any undissolved sugar.
  5. Strain the mixture through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer into a clean jar.
  6. Return the shrub to the refrigerator and let it hang out there for one week, in order for the flavors to integrate.
  7. Shake well before using and either make a cocktail or add a little shrub to your soda water.

rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora

Mojitos were always so time-consuming to make, when I was behind the {muddling} stick. I know other bartenders, who would make theirs halfheartedly, so that no one would order them again. I actually found the process quite therapeutic, and I loved the taste of a well-incorporated mojito. I still do. For a little more history on the mojito, read this post on PUNCH.

Many recipes call for muddling raw sugar with mint leaves. I chose to make a mint simple syrup, instead. I’m using it for some orange-mint coconut cream pops, and I figured it would work perfectly in a mojito.


mint simple syrup


  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • a handful of freshly cut mint leaves
  1. In a small saucepan, heat the water and sugar on the stove, just until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Remove from heat and toss in the mint leaves.
  3. Let steep for 10 minutes.
  4. Strain the mint leaves and cool.
  5. Store it in a clean, glass jar and use it up within a couple of weeks.

strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora rhubarb strawberry shrub mojito | holly & flora strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora


rhubarb + strawberry shrub mojito


  • 2 quarters of a lime
  • 1/2 ounce mint simple syrup
  • 2 sprigs of mint
  • 2 ounces white rum, like Downslope
  • 1 1/2 ounces rhubarb + strawberry shrub
  • soda water
  1. In a mixing tin, muddle the lime, simple syrup, and one sprig of mint. Save the other sprig for a garnish. Don’t slack. Muddle it well!
  2. Add ice, rum, and the shrub. Cover and give it a shake or two.
  3. Pour into a tall glass and top with soda water.
  4. Garnish with another sprig of mint, find a sunny spot, and sip slowly.
  • This recipe yields one drink. It is also a little tart because of the shrub. I like it that way, but you can always tone down the amount for a more subtle mojito. And adding more soda water also dilutes it!
  • If you don’t want to make the mint simple syrup, simply substitute regular simple syrup and add a little extra mint when muddling.
  • This multiplies easily for a pitcher drink. Just combine all of the ingredients, reserving the soda water for when you are ready to serve.

strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & flora strawberry rhubarb shrub mojito | holly & floraCheers to an amazing week ahead!

Has your spring been consumed with herbaceous cocktails and fruity shrubs? If so, let me know what you’re doing. If not, get out and make yourself some!

XO,

Jayme

the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora

the apricot stinger cocktail | hello, spring

I won’t apologize for my excitement that spring is finally here. All I see are sunny days ahead on my weather app, and I am taking full advantage of this string of good luck. Like March, April is oftentimes a volatile month here in Colorado, where you’ll be wearing flops and shorts at noon and donning a full-on winter coat and battling an onslaught of wet snow by sunset. Here’s hoping for the best.

Our garden is overflowing with tulips, daffodils, crocuses, miniature irises, and crabapple blossoms. Even our mosses and creeping thyme plants are greening out and filling in the gaps on our flagstone path. This is such a beautiful time of year. Bulbs are waking from their winter dormancy, and grasses are hastily shooting up to meet the sun’s warmth. This well-rehearsed symphony of color and fragrance is a fleeting performance, however. Sure, summer is beautiful and bountiful, but there is something special about this time of transformation from winter’s dull, brown landscape to the vibrant, bright-green newness of spring. The season is simply invigorating and holds such promise for life and change and progress.

Change is in the air!


“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.”

– Robert Frost


I am taking every moment possible to note the changes happening in our garden. I love sitting outside, underneath our crabapple tree, my favorite spot, with a cup of coffee and just listening to the growth. It is almost audible at times, and the energy is palpable. I find myself planning for the summer’s crops and dreaming up ways to preserve them later on, when I should be just soaking up this beautiful and short metamorphic season.

So, I couldn’t resist photographing this cocktail outside in the garden. Parts of the garden have yet to wake up, but this little, shady corner feels like another world.

the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora


“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river, and he’s not the same man.”

– Heraclitus


So, I have to say that photographing this white, frothy cocktail was rather tricky. Have you had the same challenge? It is almost like the tiny, pale bubbles got lost in their brightness, and I was unable to capture the dimension of the cocktail. It washed out. I think it is good to stretch your photography skills and place yourself in different lighting situations, but it is frustrating, all at the same time.

I’ve also had difficulty photographing other similar subjects, like ice cream, and making them “pop” in a low-light situation. Do you have any tips for a lighting and texture situation like this? The subject is in focus, since you can see the gold rim of the cocktail coupe in detail, but getting those fine bubbles to show up was challenging. I finally threw in the towel and did the best with the knowledge I had and the variables I was presented.

the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora

The flavor profile in this cocktail is straight-up creamsicle. The rich, frothy influence of the whipped egg whites pairs perfectly with the lemon juice, apricot liqueur, and the subtle notes of honey in the vodka. Usually, I am not a flavored vodka gal, but I am in love with Spring44’s Gin, so I had to give their honey vodka a go. Spring44’s award-winning Honey Vodka is handcrafted in Colorado and uses Rocky Mountain artesian spring water in its distillation process. The result is a pure, clean, clear spirit, made without any additives whatsoever. This aromatic, floral vodka boasts bright notes of lavender, rich honey, vanilla, and toasted nuts. And it is also great served by itself, on the rocks.

I’ve long been a fan of Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot Liqueur. This liqueur marries perfectly with bourbon and paired magically {I know I overuse that adjective, but it completely applies here} with Teeling small-batch whiskey and steeped black tea in another cocktail I recently made, the Irish Breakfast. Rothman & Winter Orchard Apricot has just the right amount of sweetness, without being cloyingly so. Its eau-de-vie base shines through and imparts a richness that complements the vibrant, fresh fruit component. It’s the perfect accompaniment to the notes of honey in the vodka. Like springtime in a glass. A frothy, rich, meringue-like expression of spring.

the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora

I actually hadn’t tried an egg white-based cocktail until about 2011. I know. I was late to the party. What do egg whites do to an already delicious cocktail? Think about a lemon meringue pie. It is tart, sweet, and silky in texture. Integrating perfectly whipped egg whites into a cocktail results in a cohesive, balanced, velvety drink.

And there is no need to worry about any food illness issues. If you source organic, pastured, fresh eggs, preferably from a local source, you’ll be guaranteed a safe product.


the apricot stinger


  1. In a mixing tin, combine the vodka, apricot liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup, and egg white. Without adding any ice, “dry shake” for at least one minute. Don’t cheat.
  2. After the minute has passed, add ice and continue shaking for at least another minute. This is the “wet shake” stage. Shaking for two minutes is optimal. You jest, but the froth you’ll get from this vigorous shaking is remarkable. Texture is what you’re after in this recipe.
  3. Strain into a chilled coupe and garnish with a lemon peel, mint sprig, or an edible flower {note: my miniature daffodils in the photos are not tasty and were only present for decoration, since my violas hadn’t bloomed quite yet}.
  • Always choose fresh, organic, pastured eggs.
  • The cooler the egg, the easier it is to separate the white from the yolk.
  • The easiest way to separate the white from the yolk is to simply crack the shell and pass the yolk from one half of the shell to the other. You may also crack the whole egg over a slotted spoon or a julep strainer. Just do this over a bowl or directly into the cocktail tin.
  • Don’t overlook the dry shaking step. Shaking the ingredients without the presence of ice lets the mixture emulsify and bond together. If you want to speed up or accentuate the process, you can add the spring from a Hawthorne shaker or a blender ball {whisking ball} to the tin.
  • Don’t slack on shaking the cocktail, once you’ve added the ice. This last step slightly dilutes the cocktail and chills it down, without destroying the fine mousse you developed during the dry shake.

the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & floraSo, yeah, spring. I’m seriously having a little trouble jumping right in with gusto, as far as my personal life is concerned. I can’t seem to find my writing groove, and I have fallen off the running wagon and haven’t trained in over a week. Did I mention that I am registered for a half marathon in a little over a month? Eek.

Like I mentioned above, spring is such a fleeting moment of intense growth. I feel invigorated from the life and movement of the season, but it is almost overwhelming, when I try to actually put my dreams and aspirations to work. Despite this busy season, and my laundry list of aspirations, it is important to slow down and seriously enjoy the changes that are happening. They don’t happen overnight in nature, so why should I place the same pressure upon myself?

My aunt told me a story over the weekend that helped place all of this into proper perspective. She likened our experiences in life to a ride on a train. If we hustle along, only thinking about our destination, crossing off our to-dos, never slowing down, we make it to the end, and it’s done. We have met the end of our life and haven’t even enjoyed the stops along the way. Seriously, what is the rush? Why can’t we just pause and let ourselves enjoy the path we’re on, instead of trampling the flowers and ignoring the potential friends along the way?

the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & floraI am definitely not alone in the quest for the perfect, frothy, egg white-based cocktail. If you are ever in New York, I hear that the Alabaster Crowley cocktail, an egg white-based cocktail that mashes up Old Tom Gin and Amaro Montenegro, at the Garret is pretty much earth-shaking. My friend, Renée, just took the plunge and moved to NYC to work as a fashion assistant. Apparently, this particular cocktail is so good, she’s ordered it in succession. Here are a few unique recipes to try, along with a couple of classics.


other egg white-based cocktails to try


  • The Clover Club, a classic, citrus-y, gin-based fizz, accentuated with raspberry jam, via Oh So Beautiful Paper
  • Rhubarb and Rose Ramos Gin Fizz, this twist on the classic calls for rhubarb syrup and rose water, brightening up this creamy, gin-based cocktail, by way of Food 52
  • White Lady, a classic cocktail, featured in the 1930s classic, Savoy Cocktail Book, which features dry gin, lemon juice, Cointreau, and, of course, egg whites, found on PUNCH
  • Cotogna’s Aperol Fizz, showcases one of my favorite spirits, Aperol, and adds a creamier twist to the classic Aperol Spritz, via Serious Eats
  • Meyer Lemon Gin Fizz, a simple cocktail that lets seasonally available Meyer lemons take center stage, via Spirited Alchemy

the apricot stinger cocktail | holly & flora


“Nothing in the world is permanent, and we’re foolish when we ask anything to last, but surely we’re still more foolish not to take delight in it while we have it.”

– W. Somerset Maugham


There is no doubt that I will make that last cocktail on the list, the Meyer Lemon Gin Fizz, when my Meyer lemons ripen. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had about 13 little lemons ripening on my dwarf Meyer lemon tree, which I over-wintered this past cold season. During the first five years of a Meyer lemon tree’s life, it is very unlikely that fruit will actually set. I am surprised that I have three, rather large, yellowing Meyer lemons! I am beyond excited! I don’t care if I get only one out of the deal. Whatever I make with that one, perfect lemon will be decadent. IMG_2940 IMG_2938

I’m closing with some photos I took, while prepping the garden soil this past week. As far as the garden edibles go, mint, tarragon, chives, thyme, and sorrel have all made their perennial appearances over the past few days. We even discovered some potatoes from this past fall that were absolutely delicious and sweet. The onions we planted last summer were ready, as well.

My friend, Ashlae, recently dropped by for breakfast and helped sow the early-spring seeds with me. She is my local supplier of vanilla crack, better known to all as the Real Deal vanilla extract. She is also a pretty fun person to hang around. We have both agreed that we are grandmas, since we cherish being at home, enjoy good books, dabble in the DIY department, and enjoy getting our hands dirty and gardening. I’m proud of the label. I think we ended up talking way more than we did actually planting. We managed to plant buttercrunch lettuce in succession, and we sowed several varieties of Swiss chard, some kale, and a few rows of beets.

The buttercrunch lettuce is already popping up!

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“If nothing lasts, then everything has meaning. If everything dies, that means we actually live.”

– Chris Matakas


So, which egg white-based cocktails have you made? Do you have any other recipes where honey vodka would be a great component? Also, if you have any advice on photographing ice cream or other frothy-textured foods, lay it on me!

Cheers to a wonderful rest-of-the-week! And happy spring cocktail-making!

XO,

Jayme

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rosé berry sangria | holly & flora

juiced spring berry + gin + rosé sangria | my post-birthday musings

It has been exactly one week, since I celebrated my birthday, and it was truly one of the most memorable celebrations. My boyfriend and I kept it super simple and decided to visit some of my favorite spots around the city of Denver. We started out at the Weathervane Café for some good coffee and shortbread, picked up the latest copy of Nourish magazine at Studio Colfax, scored five new albums at the record store, and had a hummus plate at Café Max. We drove back home and leisurely got ready for an early dinner at the famed farm-to-table restaurant, Fruition. The food was beautifully plated, exceptionally fresh, and perfectly coursed. Our sommelier, Aaron, even blinded us on the wine he chose, which we nailed almost perfectly: a 2001 Mersault-Genevrières.

That’s French for darn-good Chardonnay!

Earlier this week, I extended the birthday celebrations and treated myself to a cut and color. I decided to go for a more dramatic, asymmetrical shape, along with a series of copper and blonde highlights. I always enjoy going to the salon. It is like a getaway for me. I’m greeted with a big cup of coffee, and I basically have a two hour-long gab fest with my hair dresser, consisting of mutual confessions, some psychological counseling, and tear-inducing bouts of laughter. Aside from enjoying a glorious head massage during the shampoo session, I also indulge in my guilty pleasure of reading fashion magazines and catching up on the celebrity gossip in US Weekly or People. Sometimes, I even scan through an OK!, if I really want to know what’s going on. It’s the only time I break away from my usual Modern Farmer or Lucky Peach periodicals. rosé berry sangria | holly & flora rosé berry sangria | holly & flora This time, I opted for the latest Harper’s Bazaar. It must have been the magazine’s “age issue” because in between all of those clothing and perfume ads, it was peppered with stories on what it means to age gracefully, how to dress age-appropriately, along with musings on the topic of aging from a few fashion icons. I have always admired the work of designer, Carolina Herrera, so when I came across a short article highlighting some of her thoughts on the topic, I dove right in. It was inspiring to hear that she actually started her successful business in her 40s. She affirmed my stance on growing older: I seriously believe we should all follow our passions, whenever we discover them, at whatever point we are in our lives. rosé berry sangria | holly & flora My aunt, Edith Jackson, is also one of my inspirations on the whole “getting older” topic. She has been a painter and designer for almost all of her life. Every morning, she greets her basement studio, nestled in the Smoky Mountains, with energy and creativity. She is actually the person who prompted me to start a blog. She even honed my social media skills and was one of the first to introduce me to Tumblr and Twitter. She makes every, single day count, educates me on current events, posts a snap of her sketchbook paintings each day on Instagram, cooks from scratch, has overcome breast cancer, and just recently opened her Etsy shop. Did I mention she is 70? We can either start living or stop living at any point in our lives. I, like my beloved aunt, am choosing to live with ferocity!


“You don’t have to be afraid of getting older; fear is the most disgusting thing. You have to get older because the alternative is horrible. If you don’t get older, you’re dead!”

Carolina Herrera


About that sangria. The word, sangria, actually translates as “blood” or “bleeding.” I know that doesn’t sound that appetizing, but there is a reason I am making this reference after posting my thoughts on living life with fierceness and purpose. Traditionally, sangria is made with brandy, fresh fruit, and red wine, hence the connection with the red-toned hue of blood. In many cultures, however, blood is symbolic of life and relates to living life with vigor, passion, intensity, and ferocity.

The recipe I am sharing is made with rosé wine and uses freshly juiced berries, apples, and lemons. Most sangria recipes toss fruit in as simply a garnish, not as a main component in the flavor profile. I recently became the proud owner of a Hurom HG Elite Slow Juicer, and I have already put it to use and made another sangria recipe, a juiced cucumber, melon, and white grape sangria. I justify consuming a couple of glasses of it because of all of the fruit servings I’m getting. It has to be healthy.


spring berry + gin + rosé sangria


  • 1 bottle of dry rosé {I like a rosé of Garnacha, like Las Rocas}
  • 6 ounces the Botanist gin
  • 4 ounces Leopold Bros. “American Orange” liqueur
  • 6 ounces berry juice {a good handful each of strawberries, blackberries, and raspberries}
  • 6 ounces apple juice {about 3 apples}
  • 1 ounce lemon juice {about 1 lemon}
  • 1 ounce agave nectar
  • soda water, for finishing
  • blackberry-studded ice cubes {see instructions below}
  • sliced strawberries or mint leaves, for garnish

Give yourself a day ahead to make and freeze your fruit cubes. You can juice the fruits and vegetables in advance, as well. That way, the juice has time to chill in the fridge.

  1. Juice the berries, apples, and lemon, following your manufacturer’s directions. Juice each separately, so you’ll know the exact amounts yielded.
  2. Combine the juices, bottle of rosé, gin, orange liqueur, and agave nectar, mixing well.
  3. Refrigerate mixture until ready to serve.
  4. Garnish cocktail or wine glasses with berry-studded ice cubes and pour juice mixture into each glass, saving a little room for a splash of soda.
  5. Toss a sprig of mint or a strawberry slice on each glass for a garnish.
  6. Don your sunnies, sit on the back porch {or fire escape or patch of grass}, and pour yourself and some friends a glass or two. There’s plenty to share.

rosé berry sangria | holly & flora rosé berry sangria | holly & flora rosé berry sangria | holly & flora rosé berry sangria | holly & flora rosé berry sangria | holly & flora rosé berry sangria | holly & flora Even if you don’t have a juicer, you can still make this particular recipe with a blender. Just strain the blended fruit purée through a fine-mesh strainer or chinois for a less dense juice. I have used my Vitamix in this very fashion. If the final sangria is a little too thick for your liking, simply add more soda to the final mixture or perhaps a little white grape juice. You can even add water to the fruit mixture, to dilute it just after you blend it.


blackberry-studded ice cubes


  • 24 blackberries
  • filtered water
  • 2 ice cube trays {12 cubes each}
  1. If you want your blackberries suspended in the middle of the ice cubes, fill the slots halfway with water and drop the berries in. Let it freeze and then fill the slots all the way up with water {I didn’t do this here; I just tossed the berries into the slots, filled them with water, and froze the trays}.
  2. Freeze until solid.
  3. Use them, along with plain ice cubes, as an eye-catching and delicious garnish for the sangria.

You obviously can choose whatever berry you’d like. Just make sure you have enough ice for your sangria. Iced tea tastes better with, well, ice. The same rule applies to sangria.

IMG_2333 rosé berry sangria | holly & flora rosé berry sangria | holly & flora rosé berry sangria | holly & flora There won’t be a shortage of rosé, since more and more producers are making it, due to its rise in popularity over the past few years. Personally, I have always been a pink wine supporter, but I am happy to share that love with all of the new-found rosé drinkers out there. Pink really is the new white. ;-) So, after you make a juiced rosé sangria, experiment with some other spring-inspired rosé sangria recipes. Here are a few of my favorites:

Do you have any favorite rosés that you’re already enjoying? I can’t get enough, so please let me know if you’ve had an amazing one. What is your favorite sangria recipe? Have you ever used freshly juiced fruit? What are your thoughts on getting older? Who keeps you inspired? Cheers to a freakishly amazing weekend! Jayme IMG_2342