white wine slushies with peaches, mate gin + blackberry liqueur | summer nostalgia + a big thanks

Gripping the handlebars of my bicycle with sweaty palms, I looked over my shoulders to see my little sister pedaling away, quickly gaining speed on me. I hunched over and pedaled with all of my nine-year-old might, heading into the hazy, mid-August sunshine, with the whipping sound of my bike streamers snapping through the warm air. Over the bumpy, tree-shaded trails, through the drainage ditch, and back home across our lawn, we raced home, slamming our bikes to the ground, collapsing onto the grass in laughter.

Sweet, summertime memories like this one make me smile. Wherever we lived, my sister and I, along with our neighborhood friends, would always find a way to build a tree house or a makeshift clubhouse on an empty, hidden lot. We’d carve out bike trails, construct drawbridges, and make trap doors. Every unwanted scrap had the potential to become a part of the world we were constructing. We’d require passwords and hold secret meetings. We’d even make club newsletters, pieced together with tape, typewritten words, and magazine clippings, duplicated on my dad’s copy machine.

I’m dating myself right now, but I feel so lucky to have been a child of the ‘80s.

white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora

In my last post, I mentioned that Steve and I have been completely smitten {okay, obsessed} with Stranger Things, a current Netflix original series. One night while Steve was working, I hunkered down under my covers and watched the first episode there by myself, just to give it a go, and I ended up letting the second one cue up. I felt guilty that I’d started a series without him, so I texted him and let him know that we had to start the series once he got home. I happily watched those first two episodes over again with him, giving him the side-eye a few times just to see if he was just as transfixed as I was.

In a minute, I’ll share a cocktail with you that I affectionately named, “The Upside Down”, after the parallel universe described in the show, but first, I’d like to send out a big, burst of THANKS to all of you, who have regularly read this blog over the years and to those of you discovering it now. I recently found out that holly & flora is one of six finalists for Saveur Magazine’s 2016 Blog Awards in the category for Best Drinks Blog.

Saveur Blog Awards | Best Drinks Coverage | VOTE

Craziness!!

I’m humbled, deeply grateful, and definitely in good company with the other talented nominees. Last Monday, Steve and I popped an incredibly special bottle we’d been saving, some Krug Champagne we’d been given for our engagement, and we made a day of working in and playing around the garden with the cats.

A huge thanks to all of YOU, who nominated this site and have found inspiration here over the last four years, as holly & flora evolved into a cocktail-driven space, inspired by my love of gardening and cooking, my passion for well-made drinks, and my profession as a sommelier. My heart is beyond overflowing for being able to share with you the story of my garden through the drinks that I make. If you have a moment to visit Saveur’s voting site, give holly & flora a vote. Look for the peaches about two-thirds down the page. You can even vote once a day, if you’re feeling benevolent and ambitious! 😉

And now for those frozen, peachy cocktails…

white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora


white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & floraThis has been the summer of frozen drinks here at the house. I think they’ve popped up everywhere, in fact. Although I’m dying to make Ashley’s Rosé Slushies, I have managed to whip up a Frozen Negroni over at the Kitchn and make some Frozen Pineapple, Banana + Coconut Daiquiris, when I visited my family in Florida a few weeks ago. I don’t plan on retiring my blender anytime soon.

My fascination with Stranger Things definitely influenced the name of this cocktail; however, the name also represents a blending of the two hemispheres. I’ve been researching Colorado’s high-altitude, desert-like wine regions, and doing so has led me to study similar grape-growing areas, like parts of New Zealand and Argentina. Argentina’s wine-making region, in particular, sits at almost the exact altitude as Colorado’s, both with similar climates.

So, here is a merging of produce and products from two very similar regions, both above and below the equator, hence the reference to the parallel universe. You’ve got peaches and a blackberry liqueur crafted in Colorado and a wine and gin, each unique to Argentina.

Nerd. Alert.


the upside down | a white wine slushy with peaches, mate gin + blackberry liqueur


  1. If you have the time, chill your spirits, fruits, and juices beforehand, so that your cocktail blends easier and doesn’t melt so quickly.
  2. In a blender, combine the white wine, peaches, gin, lemon juice, and, optionally, ginger liqueur. Blend until incorporated, starting on the lowest setting, increasing the speed to the highest setting.
  3. Turn off the blender and add the crushed ice, once again starting on the lowest setting, increasing the speed to the highest setting. Add more ice, if you’d like a thicker consistency, tasting for balance and adjusting with either more fruit or lime juice.
  4. Pour the cocktail into chilled glasses and garnish with a drizzle of blackberry liqueur and a sprig of fresh thyme. Smack the thyme before placing it in the glass, so that you release its aromatic oils.
  • This recipe yields two to three cocktails, depending upon the size of your cocktail glasses.
  • Opt for crushed ice, if you can! You’ll get a better blended cocktail. You can smash up your own with a Lewis bag and mallet. Some Sonics actually sell their crushed ice!
  • If you aren’t a fan of gin, simply leave it out, or if you want that extra buzz, just substitute plain or citrus-infused vodka {I’d opt for St. George California Citrus, if you can find it}.
  • If you can’t source Leopold Bros. Rocky Mountain Blackberry, Chambord would work just fine here, as well.

white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora

Our friend, Clayton, brought us back a bottle of Principe de los Apostoles gin from his trip to Argentina last year. We only recently cracked it, but it already might be our new favorite find. It’s actually infused with yerba mate and boasts aromas of pink grapefruit, peppermint, and eucalyptus. I recommend sipping some on the rocks with soda before making this cocktail. Even tonic is a distraction from its flavor profile.

If you’re a gin-lover, you’ve got to source and experience this unique gin for yourself.

white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora white wine slushies with mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora

 


Alamos, Torrontés, Salta, Argentina, 2015


  • on the eyes  –  brilliant, very pale straw.
  • on the nose  –  honeysuckle, candied Meyer lemon, honeydew melon, fresh herbs.
  • on the palate  –  crisp and tart with mouth-watering acidity and notes that confirm the nose: lime pith, under-ripened stone-fruit, melon, and a hint of salinity.
  • on the table  –  pairs perfectly with a bowl of salty chips and guac, empanadas, or herb-grilled fish.
  • on the shelf  –  around $13.

Cheers to celebrations, happy memories, and to doing our bests to stop and savor every moment we’re given. It takes a concerted effort for me to consciously soak up what’s going on in my own backyard, by temporarily setting down the digital distraction that is my iPhone. I find that I’m able to fully encode and richly experience what’s happening around me, if I allow myself phone-free moments. Even entire afternoons. I’d rather remember the sun’s angle, how good that slice of watermelon tastes, or the bees flitting around the bobbing sunflowers.

And if you haven’t started Stranger Things yet, do it and tell me what you think!

XO,

Jaymewhite wine slushies with peaches, mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & florawhite wine slushies with peaches, mate gin + blackberry liqueur | holly & flora

 

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Jayme Henderson

I am a sommelier-turned-farmer, who recently moved to Colorado's Western Slope to become a full-time grower of grapes and maker of wine. My husband, Steve, and I own and live on a vineyard, where we craft high-elevation white wine and rosé under our label, The Storm Cellar. I enjoy freelance writing and photography, and I am currently the cocktail columnist for Colorado's Spoke+Blossom magazine. I love playing with our two cats, gardening, mixing drinks, finding (and sipping!) great sparkling wine, cooking, playing the piano, and hiking.

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19 Comments

  1. Reply

    Donna Baker-Breningstall

    August 16, 2016

    I love the look of you Upside Down drink. Might try it with our film group next month. So nice to see your garden. Super photos!

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 21, 2016

      Donna, you totally should! You can find that gin at Bottle Shop 33 on Gaylord Street, btw. It’s super easy to make, as well. A great toast to summer’s almost-end. I didn’t post photos of our tomato patch on the side of the house. I’m not quite sure what happened, but all of the tomato plants have died. That never happens. I’m afraid that some herbicides/weed-killers spilled over onto our side of the property line. So sad. Most of the other portions of the garden are thriving. I LOVE this time of the season, where everything is pumping, and you can hardly keep up. XO and thank you for the love!

  2. Reply

    Susan

    August 17, 2016

    Fabulous. Ever try Bluecoat Barrel-Finished? Nice toffee feel without losing the botanicals. Makes a killer Negroni–and a pretty cool twist on an old-fashioned. I’ve also been enjoying another Philly local lately, Juniperus (from Bluebird Distilling), especially with a cucumber-y prep. Oh, and after a binge a couple weekends ago, we already know we’re going as Eleven and Dustin for Halloween. When else do I get to buy Eggos?

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 21, 2016

      I haven’t tried their barrel-finished, but I love Blue Coat gin; I’ll have to look out for that. Have you tried St. George Spirits Terroir? If you are the juniper-and-pine-loving type, it’s a winner. And AWESOME — I HAVE to see photos of your costumes!! I kind of want to go as Eleven, so I can lose my crazy hair and just be “free” – and have an excuse to do it. And the Eggos part is especially fun. I think we are going as characters off Portlandia – not quite sure which ones, but the concept is in the works! 😉

  3. Reply

    Edith Schmidt Art

    August 17, 2016

    Love reading and reading your post.

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 21, 2016

      Well, I love YOU, Edie! 🙂 Thanks for stopping by – XOXOXO!

  4. Reply

    Karen @ Seasonal Cravings

    August 17, 2016

    Love cocktails made from fresh peaches. They are so juicy when they are ripe. It’s like summer in a glass!

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 21, 2016

      You and me, both. I have especially loved them grilled and muddled with whiskey. SO GOOD! It is exactly that – summer in a glass!!

  5. Reply

    Jasmine S.

    August 17, 2016

    Congratulations on your nomination!

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 21, 2016

      Jasmine, thank you so, so much for your support and kind comments! I’m super excited, humbled, and honored for that nomination. HUGS!

  6. Reply

    Joan Steese

    August 17, 2016

    “Colorado’s high altitude wine regions–like Argentina–interesting! Mom

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 21, 2016

      So interesting. Did you ever see Steve’s photos from his trip to Argentina? Seriously, some of the terrain mimics Colorado’s almost identically. We love you!!

  7. Reply

    Tessa | Salted Plains

    August 18, 2016

    Yes to being a child of the 80’s and we are so entranced with Stranger Things as well! Just finished it and sad that there is not more to watch at the moment. Now entering Stranger Things withdrawal. 😉 I LOVE that you named this drink The Upside-Down – so perfect!! I’m pretty sure this is the only cocktail I would ever need for summer days and nights. xoxo

    • Reply

      Jayme Henderson

      August 21, 2016

      I’m STILL dealing with withdrawal symptoms from not having an episode to come home to after work. We need a support group for this, I think. I did hear that there is a second season in the works, so I’m excited about that possibility! And, yes, I’ve made this quite a few times, since we still have a peach-covered counter top in our kitchen. …and peaches for breakfast today, too! Cheers, lady! XO!

  8. Reply

    spiritedmorgan

    September 6, 2016

    This looks so delicious! It will be happening in my kitchen soon. And I may or may not share with others nearby. 🙂 Congrats on being a Saveur Blog Award Finalist. That’s how I discovered your blog!

  9. Reply

    Laurie

    September 10, 2016

    I saw on the Saveur page that you were a finalist and I was pumped! So freaking awesome….I was completely honored to cast my votes for you…..sooooo happy! ❤️🌸❤️

  10. Reply

    afarawayhome

    September 11, 2016

    I literally started Stranger Things last night and I can’t wait for bedtime so I can start the next episode! I was born in the early 1990s and I think I got the last of the good stuff (camps, treehouses, weird craft projects) before it all became fashion and iPhones :/

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