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

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lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora

sea salt shortbread cookies with lemon curd | paired with Kracher Auslese 2011

I had every intention of sharing these cookies, along with the lemon curd, even the dessert wine, with my coworkers. I set aside 40 of them to take to work this past Saturday. Between me and Steve, we not only consumed the 15 allocated to the two of us, but we also polished off the portion reserved for the kind and hard-working chefs, servers, and managers at the restaurant. Hmmm. Yeah, sorry. Not sorry!

I just couldn’t stop eating them. I am trying not to think about the fact that, between the two of us, we ingested two sticks of butter over the course of fewer than three days. Somehow, that fact is easier to disregard, when the butter is divided among almost 60 small, heart-shaped, dainty cookies!

There is a lot to cover in this post: a recap on this modification of Emilie’s shortbread recipe over at the Clever Carrot, a how-to on Meyer lemon curd, and a review of the dessert wine that paired magically with these sweet and sour components. I’ll keep my personal update short for sake of space, but I will let you know that, in addition to eating all of these cookies, I am really winning so far this week: I overslept that 5-mile race I had signed up for. I seriously blame these cookies. Somehow, they were the culprit.

I can honestly say that I blame cookies for a lot of things. But that’s an entirely different post.

lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora


“Even if you fall on your face, you’re still moving forward.”

- Victor Kiam


I had actually made a few jars of lemon curd before reading a recent post by Emilie over at the Clever Carrot. Emilie is a chef, who believes in the concept of “healthy comfort food.” She makes amazing sourdough bread, posts useful tips, writes heartfelt posts, and creates recipes far beyond sweets. And she has a kick-ass Instagram feed. Recently, she and her boys made the cutest batch of shortbread cookies. She made a modification of shortbread that included egg yolks, since traditional shortbread recipes call for simply one part butter, two parts sugar, and three parts flour. Just looking at her post, though, made me want to roll out of bed and bake several pans of these cookies. There is nothing like the combination of lemon curd and shortbread.

lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora

I only slightly modified Emilie’s original recipe and added some of my citrus salt I recently made, along with a little vanilla extract, a sprinkling of sea salt, and a slight tweak of flours. My baking session, however, was a little less eventful from hers. Simply skimming the first 100 or so words of her post will clue you in on her baking adventure. If only my two cats were that exciting.

Another component that really set these shortbread cookies apart was the addition of a little sea salt, sprinkled on top of the cookies before baking them. I used some Canadian sea salt, a gift from my dear friend, Kristy. I didn’t even know that Canada specialized in sea salt. The company, Vancouver Island Salt Co., was started by a chef, and their Fleur de Sel is Canada’s first sea salt.


sea salt shortbread cookies


  • 1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sifted almond flour
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons citrus salt {you may substitute regular salt}
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • coarse sea salt for garnish
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Sift the flours into a large bowl and add the cubed butter. Using your fingers, break apart the cubes of butter and incorporate the butter into the flour. See the photo above for an example of what kind of texture you’re looking for. You want pea-sized pieces of the mixture. And you can always use a pastry cutter, if you don’t want to get your hands dirty, but getting your hands dirty is half the fun!
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks well and add the sugar and citrus salt. Stir until incorporated.
  4. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and, using your fingers again, mix until the dough forms a ball, being careful not to over-mix.
  5. Flatten the dough into a disc, cover with plastic wrap, and chill for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator.
  6. Over a piece of parchment paper, roll a portion of the dough to about a 1/4″ thick. Like Emilie, I also sandwich my dough in between two pieces of parchment paper. This makes removing the cookies SO much easier. The dough won’t stick to your rolling-pin. I don’t attempt this any other way, and this method works when rolling pie dough, too.
  7. Cut out cookies with the cookie cutter of your choice. I love these little hearts! They also make a lovely pie crust.
  8. Place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, sprinkle the cookies with coarse sea salt, and bake for 12-15 minutes, just until slightly golden.
  9. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and cool the cookies on it for 5 minutes. Remove the cookies with a spatula and transfer them to a wire cooling rack.
  10. Let the cookies cool completely and serve alongside a glass of Kracher Auslese and smother them with lemon curd. Better yet, make lemon curd shortbread sandwiches and chill them in the refrigerator, until you’re ready to enjoy them!
  • This recipe yields about 55 smallish cookies, depending upon the size of your cutter.
  • Make sure that you thoroughly chill your dough before cutting the cookies. You can always chill the dough down in the fridge in between batches.

lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora

Curd, curd, curd. Curd’s the word! Okay, I am officially delirious right about now. I think I’m still recovering from the birthday celebrations over the weekend. But, seriously, I did grow up thinking that 50s and 60s rock was the current music of my time, since I only listened to my dad’s “oldies radio” station. I didn’t discover Michael Jackson until I was nearly 13! Thanks, Dad. So, about that lemon curd! And back to being slightly serious. Of course, you can purchase some delicious lemon curd from the store, but making lemon curd is super easy and requires just a short amount of time. And, honestly, sprinkling the shortbread cookie with a little sea salt was a perfect match with the sweet-tart lemon curd.

I actually hadn’t actually tasted lemon curd before experimenting with making it this year during my citrus obsession {shocker!}. I’d even loosely used “lemon curd” as a term for describing certain wines’ characteristics. I assumed it had a creamy, rich texture and a citrus-y, tart kick. I was definitely right about that. Kind of like the California Chardonnay I’m sipping on this very moment. A basic fruit curd recipe calls for egg yolks, sugar, fruit juice, and zest. The result is a super rich, custard-like spread that pairs well with anything from scones to waffles to fresh fruit.

lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora


meyer lemon curd


  • 2 Meyer lemons
  • 1 regular lemon
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk
  1. Sterilize the jars you will be using for the lemon curd. I used random Mason jars and jars from store-bought relish and jellies. Since you won’t be processing these jars, you can use whichever containers you’d like, as long as you sterilize them properly. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and place the jars carefully inside. Boil the jars for at least 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the jars inside the pot, until you need them in a few minutes.
  2. Wash and scrub the skins of the lemons well.
  3. Grate the zest from the 3 lemons into a stainless steel bowl. I used a Microplane. Be careful to avoid zesting any of the bitter, white pith. If you don’t have a fine zester, like a Microplane, you can take Ina Garten’s advice and simply peel the skins with a vegetable peeler and pulse it, along with the cane sugar, in a food processor.
  4. Juice all 3 lemons into the same stainless steel bowl.
  5. In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil and set the bowl over the simmering water. This is kind of like a double boiler situation.
  6. Add the sugar, salt, and butter and stir until the butter melts.
  7. In a small bowl, whisk together the 2 whole eggs and 1 egg yolk until the mixture is smooth.
  8. Strain the egg mixture through a chinois or sieve into the butter mixture.
  9. Here’s where some elbow grease comes into play. For the next 6 to 8 minutes, whisk the mixture constantly until smooth and thickened to a custard-like texture. Don’t slack!
  10. Pour the lemon curd into the sterilized jars and let the curd cool.
  11. Cover with the lids and store in the refrigerator for up to a month.
  • This recipe yielded me about 12 ounces. I divided the lemon curd into three 4-ounce jars.
  • Make sure that you use a clean spoon or knife each time you serve the lemon curd. This will keep the curd fresh and lengthen its shelf-life in the refrigerator.
  • If you can’t find seasonally available Meyer lemons, feel free to substitute with regular lemons.

lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora

As you well know, I sing the praises of serving dessert wine after a meal either alone or alongside a sweet treat {case in point, here, here, and here}. I chose an acidic, sweet dessert wine to accompany this shortbread and lemon curd duo. The producer of this sweet, late-harvest wine is Kracher, and they have consistently set the standard for quality, sweet wines from Austria. When I tasted the wine with the shortbread and lemon curd, I knew I had to share this experience with the staff at work. I really did have the best of intentions. I’d like to say that I dropped them on the floor or something, but in all sincerity, Steve and I ate. them. all.

I can say, however, that I’ve managed to remember to run almost every day this week!


Kracher, Auslese Cuvée, Burgenland, Austria, 2011


  • Off the vine – 60% Chardonnay, 40% Welschriesling
  • On the eyes  –  very pale yellow
  • On the nose  –  fresh aromas of ripe peaches and apricots, tropical white fruits, with a pronounced citrus blossom note.
  • On the palate  –  medium in body, not too thick on the palate, with lots of honeydew, tangerine, citrus blossom, and lychee notes, with a touch of wildflower honey. This wine has a lingering citrus-y finish and a bright acidity. This dessert wine is sweet but not cloyingly so.
  • On the table  –  perfectly paired with the creamy, rich lemon curd! This Auslese would also complement a slightly spicy Asian dish, fruit-driven desserts, and fresh goat cheese. I’d drizzle the goat cheese with a little honey and serve it along with some toasted pecans.
  • On the shelf  –  around $23 {375 mL}.
  • On the ears  –  I splurged and got five new albums from the record store on my birthday this past week. One of my favorite purchases was the latest from Digitalism. I was smitten by their 2007 album, Idealism, and I couldn’t believe I’d missed their latest effort {2011, so new-to-me}, I Love You, Dude. If you haven’t heard of this German duo, give this track a listen, and it will give you a feel for their sound.

lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & flora lemon curd + shortbread cookies | holly & floraIf you’ve been digging dessert wine lately and want to research more about it, here are a few links that will lend you a little more information:

If you make these cookies or attempt a batch of lemon curd, let me know how it all turns out! And if you score a bottle of this moderately priced, delicious dessert wine, let me know what you think. Here’s to a week filled with commitment to goals, not as many cookies, and a lot more green smoothies. At least that’s what I’ll be striving for!

Cheers!

Jayme

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apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora

apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | thoughts on intentional living

There’s nothing quite like a scathing but well-deserved comment from a loved-one, before you’ve even set foot on the floor, first thing in the morning. My alarm had gone off, I had snoozed my standard three times, and I was beginning my morning routine of sleepily scrolling through the emails that had popped up during the night, checking my Instagram feed, and noting the happenings on Facebook. I heard Steve mutter something to me. “What’s that?” I didn’t even look up. Sighing, he asked the question again. Staring at my screen, I quickly responded, “Just one second. I need to finish this email.”

Then I caught the tail end of another question he asked, and I answered, “Um, yes.” Judging from Steve’s facial expression, that was clearly the wrong answer, and it did not even pertain to what he asked. I put down my phone, apologized, and begged him to ask me again. I was going to pay full attention this time. Promise. Instead of posing his question again, he curtly stated, “I am tired of playing second fiddle to your cell phone. Every morning.”

Those words resonated within me. It was true, and I hated to admit it. It’s not like I even care what I am lazily scrolling through, and I know that I’d have a better morning {and relationship!}, if I forewent my daily ritual of catching up on digital details. The guilt of hurting someone I dearly care about tore me apart, and I made a pact then and there that I would not pick up my phone first thing in the morning. I wouldn’t even keep it beside my bed. It would be a tough habit to break.


I felt like Fred Armisen on Portlandia, the “Technology Loop” episode. “Please help me. Please help me.”


So, the past two mornings, I have stored my phone across the room, so I would actually have to get out of bed to turn off my alarm. No more snoozing. No more mindless swiping and tapping. No more trading quality human interaction with my dearest for a one-sided session with a pocket-sized, life-sucking inanimate object. This entire shift of how I choose to spend my morning coincides with an article I read in the latest edition of Uppercase Magazine. The piece focused on how we can fit more intentional creativity into our daily lives, despite the onslaught of digital distractions, and highlighted a book, aptly titled, The Joy of Missing Out: Finding Balance in a Wired World. Have you read it?

apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora

I immediately put that book on hold at the library and decided to make a conscious effort to be more present in my daily life, both in how I interact with others and how I choose to use my personal time. I don’t know if I could go, say, 30 days without social media or my phone; although, it sounds very enticing. Shifting my thoughts toward being more intentional with my actions, however, has yielded some good results, even though I am only three days in on my commitment. I squeezed in a run each morning, started the day with a meditation, and even went outside and connected with my backyard garden. I took time to lie on the ground, take in the smells, look up at the sky, and decide how I wanted to sculpt my day. Why hadn’t I done this any sooner?

I have a long way to go, before these new actions become habits, but I am pointed in the right direction. And I am not exempt from any potholes. In fact, I snoozed this morning, it was raining outside, and I had a raging headache. Initially, I reached for my phone and cozied down in the covers, but I decided against it and forced myself to go out for a run. Even my running wardrobe is currently fighting against me: I have only one matching pair of socks, and I have to wear three of my sports bras to get actual support. No exaggeration. They are that old and stretched out {the bras, that is}. It’s a little embarrassing, and now you know this detail about me. Despite these circumstances, I managed a solid 3-mile run.

So, I’m due for a reward. In the form of a cocktail. It is Friday, after all, and it is important to celebrate the changes we make, right? I’m pretty good at justifying reason for making a drink.

apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora

I decided upon a whiskey-based cocktail, since I have been on that loop here lately. And since St. Patrick’s Day is upon us, why not an Irish whiskey? This cocktail is slightly sweet, with notes of ripe apricot, has just the right amount of citrus-y acidity, and finishes with a tea-like bitter note. It’s balanced and marries perfectly with the flavor profile of this particular whiskey, Teeling, a small-batch, blended Irish whiskey, which is aged in rum casks.

Teeling’s notes of caramel, baking spices, dried herbs, and orange peel are perfect matches with apricot liqueur, a little lemon juice, a splash of bitters, and a black tea simple syrup. The black tea simple is easy to make and, as I mentioned above, adds a depth of bitterness to the cocktail. Make this simple syrup in advance, so that it has time to cool.


black tea simple syrup


  • 1/2 cup filtered water
  • 1/2 cup cane sugar
  • 2 bags organic black tea
  1. In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add the bags of black tea, and remove from heat.
  2. Let the tea bags steep for 5 minutes. Remove the tea bags, carefully pressing out the excess liquid with a spoon.
  3. Place the saucepan back on the stove and bring to a slow boil once again. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved.
  4. Remove from heat and let cool.
  5. Store in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  • If you wish to make more simple syrup, you can increase the amounts. It’s an easy 1:1 ratio of sugar to water. 
  • This particular recipe for black tea simple syrup will make about 8 cocktails. 
  • The simple syrup will keep in the refrigerator up to one month. If you have any extra, add it to iced coffee or iced tea for an added depth of flavor and sweetener. Black tea simple also marries well with spiced rum. It would be perfect with bourbon and lemon or lemonade, depending upon your desired level of sweetness. 

apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora

It’s always a fun process to name a cocktail. You can play it safe and simply name it by its ingredients, or you can name it after an author, a book, a movie, an inside joke, or a terrible pun. I’m definitely guilty of the terrible pun, but today I will settle on calling this cocktail, the “Irish Breakfast.” Since black tea is a component of the cocktail, it reminded me of “Irish Breakfast” tea. I figured, if it is a true Irish breakfast, however, whiskey must be involved. And I can so joke about this, since I have a little Irish in me. ;-)


irish breakfast


  1. In a mixing glass filled with ice, build the cocktail with the whiskey, apricot liqueur, lemon juice, simple syrup, and bitters.
  2. Shake well.
  3. Strain into a cocktail glass, filled with ice.
  4. Add a splash of soda and garnish with a lemon peel.

apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora


Maybe every once in a while we can take a break from doing everything faster and quicker to reflect on who we are and where we are going.”

- Joe Plumeri


What are you doing this weekend? I will be reconnecting to my garden, turning the compost, dead-heading the grasses and shrubs, and mulching the beds with Steve. I’m regretting signing up for a race this Sunday morning. It would normally be fine, but I forgot that it is officially St. Patrick’s Day weekend, and I’m sure the streets of downtown Denver, where the race is held, will be strewn with the aftermath of Saturday night’s debauchery and its accompanying sights and smells. At least I have a beer to look forward to at the end of the race!

  • How do you detach from your wired world? What means do you have to remain balanced?
  • Do you recommend any helpful books or resources?

apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora apricot + black tea irish whiskey cocktail | holly & flora

Here is a peek into what’s happening in the garden this week. It still looks pretty brown, dead, and dismal, but there are signs of life popping up here and there, giving me hope that spring is around the corner. The sights around here will be drastically different even within a month. I am beyond ready for you, spring!

Cheers to an amazing weekend and cheers to intentional living!

XO,

Jayme

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winter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blend

winter citrus salad + blood orange shrub dressing | paired with chenin blanc

Don’t we all wish we could view and present our lives through an Instagram filter? We could give our day-to-day messiness a hazy, golden glow; smudge away the imperfections, late-fees, traffic tickets; paint a ray of sunshine on our grey days; make our piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and dark circles look, somehow, like awe-inspiring works of art; and delete those harsh remarks we’ve made. Count me in!

But how do we ever make changes in our lives, unless we examine ourselves, under close scrutiny, raw and un-retouched? How else do we know when we need to progress or say goodbye to places, people, or habits, which no longer serve us? I remember visiting with a financial planner years ago, a time when my finances were in a bad place. In order to see where my problem areas existed, I was instructed to look back, tally up my past expenditures, and write down everything I was spending on a daily basis. I begged to skip this step. I just wanted to scratch the past and simply move forward from where I was.

Exposing my poor choices to a stranger was terrifying to me. But even more terrifying was coming to grips with my own addictions, my lack of discipline, and my frivolity. I can tell you, however, that if I hadn’t gone through that bitter process of digging deeper, realizing the patterns I’d created, I would most likely be making those same poor choices today.

winter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blend

You know what’s even more difficult than self-evaluation? When someone else evaluates you, without a prompt, unsolicited. Gulp. I recently came across a blog comment that I must have overlooked somehow. It was written back in October in response to a recipe I had posted. As I read the words, I cringed inside and felt defensive, at first. I adjusted my robe, mirroring the way I felt inside: like someone saw something I didn’t want them to see. But really that was just my ego getting in the way. Someone actually took the time and let me know that the recipe was unclear and even offered a suggestion to enhance my post’s readability.

You know? I am seriously grateful that this person deemed it important to kindly share his thoughts in a constructive fashion. I immediately fixed the problem and even began to look at my recipes with a keener eye {that’s not to say that I am mistake-free from now on!}. If that reader hadn’t taken the time to share his thoughts, I wouldn’t have grown as a writer or matured a little as an individual.

My boyfriend and I sat down together this past week and took a critical look at our garden. The promise of spring, along with the time change and some warmer weather, has gotten us into “planning mode” for our garden. We took out a piece of paper and sketched out three categories: garden failures, garden successes, and aspects we need to improve upon. Granted, it is much easier to discuss the ins and outs of gardening, as opposed to deep soul-searching, but the concept is similar. You’ve got to know your starting point, know your strengths and weaknesses, so that you can move forward and see the results you want – in your life or in your tomato patch.

winter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blend winter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blend

Okay. I’ll bring a little levity to this post and talk about a salad I’ve been making lately. I don’t really follow recipes for making salads. In fact, most of the time, I end up either grabbing what’s in season at the store, pulling something from the garden, or sifting through my fridge and assembling something tasty with what’s on hand. I’ve also mentioned it before: you don’t need to follow a strict recipe for a salad dressing, either. And you definitely don’t need to purchase salad dressing from the store. Ever. It is really a simply process and tastes so much more delicious, when you make your own. I tend to follow the following ratio, and it suits me perfectly every time:

—  3 parts oil + 1 part vinegar + squeeze of citrus + seasonings  —

I have recently caught the shrub-making bug and have made three kinds already. I detailed a how-to post last week, in case you missed it. I used my blood orange shrub in the dressing for this citrus salad. It provides a tangy, sweet-sour taste and can substitute the vinegar usually found in dressing recipes.


blood orange shrub vinaigrette


  • 1/3 cup great quality extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons blood orange shrub
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • salt and cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/8 cup crushed raw pistachios
  • If you don’t have blood orange shrub on hand, you may substitute the shrub with 2 tablespoons red wine or cider vinegar. This combo makes a great vinaigrette, but if you’d like a little more blood orange flavor, just add the juice of half a blood orange, or more to taste.
  • I like to combine all of the ingredients in a mason jar and shake well until emulsified.

winter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blendwinter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blendwinter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blendwinter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blend


winter citrus salad


  • 5 oranges {a mixture of your choice}, skins removed and sliced width-wise
  • 1 Meyer lemon, skins removed and sliced width-wise
  • 1/2 a fennel bulb, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 a head of radicchio, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, peeled and thinly sliced
  • chiffonade of mint leaves {about 10 leaves}
  • handful of raw, sprouted pumpkin seeds
  • sprinkle of feta cheese
  1. Remove the skins of the citrus with a knife. Slice the citrus width-wise.
  2. Using either a mandoline or a very sharp knife, thinly slice the fennel bulb and the radicchio.
  3. Peel the shallot and slice it super thin.
  4. To make the chiffonade of mint, take the 10 mint leaves, stack them on top of each other, roll them from top to bottom, and slice the roll of leaves thinly.
  5. Arrange the citrus slices, fennel, radicchio, and shallot on two plates {or one, if you’re hungry} and sprinkle the mint, pumpkin seeds, and feta over the top.
  6. Drizzle the salad with dressing and enjoy with a glass of Chenin Blanc.
  • This video show an excellent example of removing the skins of citrus with a knife. Be sure to remove the pith {white part} from the fruit. It’s perfectly fine to eat, but it offers a bitter taste.
  • Don’t know how to chiffonade? Here’s a great visual.
  • This recipe yields about 2 salads.

winter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blend winter citrus salad | paired with a chenin blanc blend

I paired this salad with Marvelous “Yellow,” which is a Chenin Blanc-dominated blend from South Africa. This wine is one of my favorite white wines I’ve tasted this past year, and it pairs perfectly with this citrus-fennel salad. The Marvelous wine portfolio is a collaboration among winemaker Adam Mason, chef Peter Tempelhoff and passionate wine entrepreneur Charles Banks. They also make the “Red” {a Syrah-led blend} and the “Blue” {a Cab Franc-led blend}.


Marvelous “Yellow”, Chenin Blanc Blend, South Africa, 2012


  • Off the vine  –  Chenin Blanc {60%}, Chardonnay {30%}, and Viognier {10%}, sourced from the Western Cape.
  • On the eyes  –  brilliant, pale yellow.
  • On the nose  –  wildly aromatic, with notes of white flowers, lush, tropical fruits, and a hint of golden apple and lime.
  • On the palate  –  dry, medium-bodied, with a silky mouth-feel, vibrant acidity, and a mineral-driven finish. The palate confirms the nose with bright, tropical fruits, a hint of vanilla, citrus, and ripe, golden apple. It’s the perfect balance of flavor, texture, and acidity. You can really sense what each grape brings to the wine.
  • On the table  –  perfect with citrus salads, grilled chicken, or a buttery, spring pea risotto.
  • On the shelf  –  around $15, which is a crazy value.
  • On the ears  –  paired with some Samia Farah from her 1999 self-titled album. This Tunisian-French singer’s style mingles among the jazz, pop, and reggae genres and conjures up images of lazy, hazy summers. This album is a standard for the sunny months of June, July, and August. It is the perfect putzing-around-in-the-yard music. I especially like the track, “Je Sais”; I tend to blast it on mornings-off, over coffee, out in the garden. This video will clue you in on her sound even further.

tulips before the snowstormour backayard in the snowcat pawprints in the snow

I’ll close with some wintry shots I took with my iPhone on a walk a few days ago. We finally got some well-deserved sunshine and warmth today, and I even cracked some sparkling rosé and donned the tank top. Maybe it was a bit premature {insert goosebumps and a little teeth-chattering}, but it was worth it!

Cheers to an amazing rest-of-the-week, peppered with a little introspection and some self-growth!

XO,

Jayme

snowy walk snowy walk snowy walk snowy walk snowy walksnowy walksnowy walksnowy walksnowy walk...and my sorrelssnowy walk

 

how to make shrubs | holly & flora

how to make shrubs {aka drinking vinegars} | 3 refreshing recipes

Shrub. What a funny, little word.

When I passionately mention my newly acquired skill of shrub-making to my friends, the first thing that comes to their minds is usually that scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, when the “Knights Who Say Ni” demand a shrubbery. Of course, the Knights desired a shrub of the green and leafy variety. If only I were there, when that demand was made. I would’ve had a much more exciting and delicious rendition of what they were asking for!

So, what does the word, shrub, mean, exactly? Michael Dietsch explains in rich detail the history of shrub-making, which dates way beyond even Colonial times, within the pages of his recent book, Shrubs: An Old Fashioned Drink for Modern Times. 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.

how to make shrubs | holly & flora

The first time I even heard about shrubs, aka “drinking vinegars”, was on a recent trip to Oregon, back in the fall of 2013. I was working the Pinot Noir harvest with EIEIO & Co Winery, and I, along with the other members of the internship team, met up for dinner at Pok Pok, an award-winning Thai restaurant in Portland. Jay, the winemaker at EIEIO, insisted that I try one of Pok Pok’s drinking vinegars. I was kind of in the mood for a beer, but I acquiesced and chose the tamarind drinking vinegar from a list of about ten different, and often rotating, options.

I’ll admit that I was a little skeptical, at first. Drinking vinegar? I didn’t even know if that sounded appetizing. I was completely proven wrong, when I had my first, refreshingly vibrant sip. I quickly ordered another flavor and then thought about the possibilities of adding a shrub to a cocktail. I was smitten immediately, but it wasn’t until this past month that I became insanely obsessed with the shrub-making process.

how to make shrubs | holly & floraI promise you that you’ll be pleasantly surprised the first time you make or taste a shrub. They really don’t require a lot of work, just a little time and patience. Once you’ve made the shrub, strained it into a clean Mason jar, and let it rest for a week, the shrub is ready to drink. Shrubs will keep up to about six months, but discard if the shrub begins to bubble or ferment, or develops a slimy texture.

how to make shrubs | holly & flora how to make shrubs | holly & floraFor each of the recipes shown here, I incorporated the technique of making an oleo-saccharum during the shrub-making process. The phrase translates as “oily sugar” and is made by combining sugar with the zest of citrus and letting it integrate over the course of an hour or so. Adding this zesty sugar to a shrub recipe brightens the shrub and adds a depth of complexity to the mix. I especially noticed what the lemony sugar did to my raspberry-mint shrub – it added a punch of citrus and really balanced the flavors.

I learned this technique from the book, Shrubs, and it is super easy to follow.


how to make an oleo-saccharum


  1. Remove the zest of your citrus fruits with a vegetable peeler. You may use the skins of oranges, lemons, or grapefruits. Michael Diestch advises avoiding limes, since their skins are much more bitter.
  2. Be sure to avoid removing the tough, white piths of the citrus, when you’re peeling the zest away. The photo below shows the results you are looking for.
  3. In a bowl, combine the strips of zest with whatever measurement of sugar your recipe calls for. Using either a cocktail muddler or a sturdy, wooden spoon, really put some elbow grease into pressing the zest into the sugar.
  4. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it rest for at least an hour.
  5. Remove the peels, once the time has passed. Your oleo-saccharum or “oily sugar” is ready to use!

how to make shrubs | holly & flora how to make shrubs | holly & flora how to make shrubs | holly & flora


blood orange shrub


  • 5 or 6 medium blood oranges, peeled and juiced {yield is about 1 1/2 cups juice}
  • 1/2 cup turbinado or raw sugar
  • 3/4 cup Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar
  1. Following the oleo-saccharum method above, combine the peeled skins of the oranges {the colored part of the orange peels} with the sugar, cover with plastic wrap, and set aside for at least one hour.
  2. Juice the blood oranges.
  3. Once the oleo-saccharum is ready, remove the pieces of orange zest and add the blood orange juice and the Champagne vinegar to the sugar mixture.
  4. Stir well to dissolve any sugar particles.
  5. Transfer the shrub mixture into a clean jar, seal it, and shake it to further blend the ingredients. Store the shrub mixture in the refrigerator. Allow 2 to 3 days for the flavors to meld, before enjoying.
  • A special thanks to Michael Dietsch for letting me post his recipe for an orange shrub! I agree with him that the orange flavor matches perfectly with the raw sugar and Champagne vinegar. The next two recipes are my own creation, but were influenced by the tips and steps within his book.
  • Tip: When I tried removing the orange peels from the sugar, I found that a lot of the sugar was sticking to the peels. I didn’t want to lose all that sugar, so I simply poured the juice and the vinegar into the bowl of zest and sugar. I stirred the mixture well and then poured it through a fine-mesh strainer. I then tossed the zest.

how to make shrubs | holly & flora how to make shrubs | holly & flora how to make shrubs | holly & flora


strawberry + peppercorn shrub


  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 2 lemons, peeled
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 30 black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
  1. Using the oleo-saccharum technique, muddle the lemon peels with the sugar in a bowl. Cover the sugar mixture with plastic wrap and set aside for at least an hour.
  2. Once the hour has passed, remove the peels from the sugar and add the hulled and quartered strawberries, along with the coarsely crushed peppercorns, to the bowl. Stir to incorporate.
  3. Cover the strawberry mixture with plastic wrap, transfer to the refrigerator, and store for two hours.
  4. Remove the mixture from the fridge and muddle the mixture even further, getting out as much juice as possible from the berries.
  5. Add the vinegar to the strawberry mixture. Cover the bowl again, transfer the mixture back into the fridge, and store for two days.
  6. Remove the mixture from the fridge, muddle the berries again and strain through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer into a clean Mason jar.
  7. Store the shrub mixture in the fridge for a week to further integrate the flavors, before enjoying. Shake before using.

This recipe sounds a little labor-intensive, but follow the directions, and you won’t be disappointed with the results. This shrub has a sweet-tart strawberry flavor with a subtle, peppery finish.

how to make shrubs | holly & flora how to make shrubs | holly & flora


raspberry + mint shrub


  • 2 cups raspberries
  • 1 cup cane sugar
  • 2 lemons, peeled
  • 1/4 cup mint leaves
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  1. Prepare your oleo-saccharum by peeling the skins of the lemons with a vegetable peeler. In a bowl, muddle the peels with the sugar, cover with plastic wrap, and wait for at least an hour.
  2. Add the raspberries and mint to the sugar mixture and muddle the raspberries, expressing some of their juice. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and transfer into the fridge. Let it sit for one day.
  3. Remove the raspberry mix from the fridge, muddle the fruit even more, and then add the vinegar to the mix. Stir to integrate and dissolve the sugar.
  4. Strain the mixture through a chinois or a fine-mesh strainer into a clean Mason jar.
  5. Store the shrub mixture in the refrigerator. Allow 1 week for the flavors to meld, before enjoying. Shake before using.

how to make shrubs | holly & flora

There you have it! Have you been smitten with the shrub-making bug like I have? If so, what tips do you have to offer? Any recipes you absolutely love? Clue me in! I can’t wait for gardening season to fully kick in. I have visions of celery shrubs, beet shrubs, and even herbal shrubs.

Oh! You probably want some ideas for how to actually incorporate those tasty shrubs of yours. I enjoy adding a shrub to a glass of ice and sparkling water, like the ones shown in the photos here, but they make amazing additions to cocktails. I like tossing in a small portion of shrub, say, an ounce, along with some gin and soda. Super simple. I did find a pretty good “cocktail generator equation”, via Bill Norris, contributor at Badass Digest:


basic shrub cocktail equation


  •  1 ½ to 2 parts base spirit {ex: gin}
  • 1 part complementary flavored liqueur {ex: citrus liqueur}
  • 1/2 part shrub
  • 2 dashes bitters {ex: orange or chamomile bitters}

Just combine those ingredients, along with ice, in a cocktail shaker. Shake thoroughly and strain either served up or over ice, along with a dash of soda. Garnish with an herb sprig, slice of fruit, or citrus wheel. Enjoy!

Cheers to shrubs, discovering new preservation techniques, and to the laughter and silliness that the entire Monty Python movement brought us. Now, go and cut down the tallest tree in the forest with a herring! ;-)

XO,

Jayme

blood orange whiskey cocktails | holly & flora

blood orange whiskey cocktails + taking stock | 02

Earlier this week, I popped over to the Victoria Vitale’s lovely blog, Scissors & Sage, to share a blood orange whiskey cocktail recipe I developed. When she asked if I’d guest-post on her lifestyle blog, I couldn’t resist. She posts weekly DIY tutorials, crafting projects, recipes, and design ideas. It’s pretty much a one-stop for all things pretty, fun, and crafty. I was happy and honored to grace her pages!

As you well know, I have kept a bowlful of blood oranges at the ready, over the past few weeks. So, I have obviously also kept my cocktail glasses filled to the brim with citrus-y drinks. This one is a perfect balance of sweet, savory, acidic, and bitter notes. Even if you don’t have blood oranges on hand, any kind of orange will work perfectly with the cocktail’s components. So, head over to Victoria’s blog, read on for the details, and make one {or two!} of these over the weekend!


Scissors & Sage – “Cocktail Concocting with Jayme Henderson”


blood orange whiskey cocktails | holly & flora blood orange whiskey cocktails | holly & flora blood orange whiskey cocktails | holly & florablood orange whiskey cocktails | holly & flora

Wishing you a very happy Friday!! I know there are only a couple of hours left, so make them extra happy ones. That’s what I will be doing. I never could get into a groove until around 5:30 today {that’s PM, by the way}, despite imbibing two-thirds of a French press and one Venti iced soy latte from Starbucks. That’s a little disturbing.

Maybe it has to do with staying up way too late last night, debating with my boyfriend whether or not that damned striped dress was blue-black or gold-white. Well, for the record, I was right. It was blue. We did end up agreeing that the entire thing was ridiculous and wound up dying laughing at this scene, another battle of colors, from Liar, Liar. Remember when Jim Carrey’s character can’t lie and tries telling himself that his blue pen is red?

More realistically, it has to do with the workload and stress level this past week. I mentioned in an earlier post that our restaurant participates in Denver Restaurant Week, along with over 250 other restaurants, offering a prix fixe menu, modestly priced at $30 per person. We have about 700 on the books tonight, but somehow, I managed to get the night off. I am not complaining at all! Two more days of the craziness, and we are back to normal.

Here’s round two of my monthly check-in of what I’m into, what I’m focused on, and what’s currently striking my fancy. This little series is inspired by Keira, who was inspired by Sydney, who was inspired inspired by Pip.

Have an amazing weekend!

XO,

Jayme


taking stock | 02


Making  |  lots of shrubs! Ever since buying the book, Shrubs, by Michael Dietsch, I have made a blood orange shrub, a raspberry-mint shrub, and a strawberry-peppercorn shrub. #nomoreboringdrinks
Cooking  |  …actually, baking weekly granola batches.
Drinking these blood orange whiskey cocktails and sipping on this White Zinfandel. Yep. White Zinfandel. And it’s goooood.
Reading  |  Zen in the Art of Archery by Eugen Herrigel and Marathon by Jeff Galloway. The books are actually related. I am going to need a lot of zen to finish both the 1/2 and the full marathons I’ve committed to running.
Wanting  |  for my glass jars to arrive in the mail, so I can fill them with dried, organic herbs from my garden and put them up for sale!
Looking  |  at my to-do list and hoping to check off some seriously procrastinated tasks this weekend.
Playing  |  that stupid game, where if you look at a friend’s hand, while they are making the “okay” sign with their fingers, they can punch you. Pretty mature, huh? Somehow, it is my ultimate goal to win this game against our sous chef. Does this game even have a name!?
Wasting  |  time researching tips on organizing my desk and not actually putting them into action.
Drawing  |  upon my amazing resources and finally amping up my SEO, thanks to my talented friend, Kristy.
Wishing  |  I could just get up, when my alarm rings. I am so trying to get up at a consistent 9:00. It is tough, sometimes.
Enjoying  |  the fact that I planned ahead and got tickets to both Hot Chip and Belle & Sebastian. First shows of the year!
Waiting  |  patiently for March 19th, when I can have a delicious glass of wine again. I have given up alcohol until then {I’m almost three weeks in!}, so that I can focus on my running regime.
Liking  |  all of these recipes for blood oranges. My blood orange sherbet made the list, annnnd it’s spiked with a little Campari.
Wondering  |  why I chose to run a half-marathon the day after I get back from vacation in May. A wine-tasting vacation. I am seriously a sucker for pain.
Loving  |  the nine inches of snow in our backyard! I think I might build a snowman! And now I have that song in my head. And now you do, too.
Hoping  |  for some inspiration to start sketching again. I’m still stuck on geometric shapes and flowers of the basic variety.
Marveling  |  at these beautiful, watercolor botanical letters and pinning this tutorial on how to make them! Smitten.
Needing  |  this t-shirt and seething that it is not in stock!!
Smelling  |  victorious. I made it through 6.55 miles on the treadmill today! That’s exactly halfway through the distance I’ll run on May 17th at the Colfax Half-Marathon.
Wearing  |  a tacky pink hair clip from the late 80s, mismatched socks, my Asics, a sweaty, black Nike tank top, and hot pink Nike basketball shorts. It’s my day off.
Following  |  the lovely ladies at Hooch & Home. They make amazingly rad cocktails.
Noticing  |  that there is always a positive angle that you can find from any situation.
Pinning  |  lots and lots of baked goods, especially this macha layer cake. That’s right.
Thinking  |  I should finally upgrade to a Garmin running watch, but is it worth the nearly $200 price tag that accompanies it?
Feeling  |  super excited that Steve and I are going to Cali for almost a week in May! He’s turning 40, and we are celebrating in wine country! #duh
Listening  |  to Beck, Sea Change, especially “Lost Cause.” And I just turned it off because it was too depressing. Time for some Belle & Sebastian! I still need their newest album…
Learning  |  how to make this whipped coconut oil and rose body butter.
Giggling  |  at Maria Bamford. So, I’ve had Amazon Prime for a couple of years but never knew about all of the videos, movies, and shows that are available for streaming! Lately, I’ve been addicted to True Blood, old X-Files episodes, and so much stand-up.
Feeling  |  hungry for these adorable mini shortbread cookies. They will go perfectly with all of the lemon curd I made. And that is why I run! ;-)

XO,

Jayme

blood orange whiskey cocktails | holly & flora

citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & flora

citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas

Lies, I’ll tell you! I’m looking outside my studio window at the peacefully falling snow. We were bracing ourselves here in Denver for well over a foot of snow, and all we received was a scant eight inches. I was actually looking forward to a serious dumping of the stuff. I want to be snowed in, denied from even getting into my car. I want a work-free day, complete with movies, cozy blankets, lots of baking, and no obligations. I suppose I still need the electricity and the water to work, so nothing too drastic.

I always associate ice-cold, salt-rimmed margaritas with balmy, summer days, but all of my citrus surplus has pushed my creativity to serious lengths. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve made orange marmalade, blood orange and bourbon cocktails, and even some Campari-spiked orange sherbet, so tangerine margaritas were only a natural progression.

citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & flora

You know how you just want to pour yourself a cocktail, shut out all of the busyness, and enjoy the peace around you? That is how I am feeling morning, except I can’t enjoy a wintry cocktail {or any  kind of cocktail, for that matter}. I am working this evening, and there are well over 500 reservations on the books; that’s about three times our normal count for a Sunday. So, I’ll be heavily hitting the coffee, instead. Sigh.

You see, each February, almost all of Denver’s restaurants host “Restaurant Week.” For the guests, it is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the cuisine of their favorite dining spots or restaurants they’ve always wanted to visit, at an incredibly discounted price. For the employees of the restaurants, however, the hours are longer, the workload is heavier, the tickets are decreased by about half the normal price, and the guest-count more than triples. It is exhausting.

So, instead of having one of these right now, I’ll most likely make one for myself later on this evening. And it will be delicious.

citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & flora citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & flora citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & flora

I absolutely love classic margaritas. Who doesn’t? They are the perfect balance of sweet, sour, salty, and citrus. I also love creating twists on the original recipe and mixing mine with different fruit juices and various liqueurs. This past week, I bought a large bag of organic tangerines, juiced them, and made the most refreshing citrus margaritas.

For a unique garnish, I made citrus salt for the rims of the cocktail glasses. I crushed up some navel oranges I had dehydrated several weeks ago and added some sea salt to the mix. I was super pleased with the results, and I plan doing the same thing with dehydrated limes and lemons. The best part about this added special touch is that it is so simple to make. You just need a few hours to dry the fruit.


how to make citrus salt


  1. Slice the oranges about 1/4 of an inch thick and remove their seeds.
  2. Arrange slices on the trays of a food dehydrator and set the temperature to 115 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Allow the slices to dehydrate for 6-12 hours or until crisp and brittle.
  4. Store them in an airtight container, away from direct sunlight, until you’re ready to use them.
  5. For the citrus salt, coarsely grind the centers of the oranges, removing the tough rims. I used my Le Creuset mortar and pestle, one of my favorite and most-used kitchen splurges, but you could also pulse in a food processor. I saved the tough rims for a future salt scrub project!
  6. Add an equal amount of sea salt, or a little less, depending upon your taste.
  7. Store the citrus salt in an airtight container.

citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & flora citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & floracitrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & flora


citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas


  1. Juice the tangerines and lime{s}. Don’t settle for the bland, bottled, pasteurized stuff.
  2. Sprinkle the citrus salt on a plate. Run a  lime wedge along the rim of the cocktail glass and carefully press the edge of the glass into the citrus salt.
  3. Carefully fill the cocktail glass with fresh ice.
  4. Fill a cocktail mixing glass with ice and add the tequila, blood orange liqueur, the juices, and, optionally, the agave nectar.
  5. Shake the mixture well, strain, and pour into the prepared glass.
  6. Garnish with a lime {or tangerine} wedge or wheel.
  • Always choose organic citrus and thoroughly scrub the exteriors, even if you are simply juicing the fruit. Again, take the time and “effort” to juice fresh fruit. The flavor is incomparable.
  • The Solerno Blood Orange Liqueur tastes delicious and gives this cocktail great balance; however, if you are unable to find this, feel free to substitute another orange liqueur.

citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & flora citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & flora citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & flora citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & flora

Did you know that today is actually National Margarita Day? Well, go out and get some tangerines and limes and do some celebrating! ;-) It’s a great excuse to rebel against the chilly, snowy weather 0r celebrate the warm, sunny weather you are experiencing. And if you need any further inspiration, check out this beautiful blood orange margarita at Design Love Fest, this Meyer lemon margarita by White on Rice Couple, or this gorgeous French Kiss margarita over at Bakers Royale.

Cheers to us all enjoying a happy Sunday and to my surviving the night. Steve just came back from running errands {thank you!} and said the roads were terrible. Luckily, we live less than five minutes from work, so our commute will be painful but quick. I’m already anticipating coming home to a cozy house and settling in with a movie tonight. And maybe a margarita.

XO,

Jayme

citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & flora citrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & floracitrus salt-rimmed tangerine margaritas | holly & flora