Category Archives: fall

manhattan | a first-time visit, a classic cocktail + an eponymous book

It’s been nearly three weeks since our visit to New York City, and I can still hear the bustling sounds in my head. It was my very first visit, and it proved quite the adventure-filled, three-day escape. Steve and I had already made plans to see our friend Andy’s art show in Chelsea at the end of September, but the stars truly aligned when the dates for the Saveur Blog Awards ceremony were announced. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. We immediately booked our tickets, plotted an easy departure from the restaurant’s responsibilities, and started researching places to stay and see and dine.

I had ideas of what New York would feel like, but experiencing it, firsthand, blew my mind. I’m still processing all that we packed in. Instead of staying at a swank hotel in the city, we opted for a cozy Airbnb in the Prospect Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn. I’ll share the details of our digs and dines in an upcoming post, along with all of the activities we enjoyed with the fellow blog award nominees and the Saveur team. For now, I’ll post a few captures from the first day we were there. A day filled with walking the streets of Brooklyn over to Manhattan, the best way to see the city, in my opinion.

And you know I can’t resist the chance to share with you a few riffs on the city’s most famous classic cocktail, the Manhattan. If you’re thirsty for a good story, read on. Heck, if you’re just plain thirsty, read on. I’ve got you covered here.

manhattan | a visit, a cocktail + a book | holly & flora manhattan | a visit, a cocktail + a book | holly & flora manhattan | a visit, a cocktail + a book | holly & flora

There’s nothing like experiencing the city on foot and by subway. Even after walking a couple of blocks from our neighborhood, we felt the pulse of city drawing us in. I quickly realized that there’s really not a leisurely pace; you have to jump into the groove and ride it. That, or get out of the way.

We started our exploration in the Prospect Heights neighborhood in Brooklyn. A few blocks into our walk, we scouted a couple of pizza joints and grabbed a few slices. I paired mine with a red Gatorade, because travel dehydration. What’s the actual flavor profile of “red drink”, let alone the actual ingredients? I didn’t want to think about it. The streets were hot, and the air was thick with humidity that rivaled that of my home state of Florida. I needed serious quenching.

Fueled by syrupy Gatorade and cheesy pizza, we braved the streets, eking out as much as we possibly could over the next few hours.

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a honeycrisp, pimm’s + old tom gin cocktail | making cozy a priority

It still feels like it should be mid-November to me. In my mind, Thanksgiving happened just a week ago, and I have this false notion that I still have a few more weeks left until Christmas. Just this evening, I counted out the remaining days on one hand, and it hit me that the holiday is less than a week away. We still haven’t put up a tree or made a wreath for our front door, two traditions we thoroughly enjoy doing, and I still have yet to wrap and mail my family’s gifts. They’ll simply have to arrive late this year. And we’ll have to roll without a tree.

I think the bustle has really gotten to me. I had two missions at the store last night: grab a bag of ice and pick up some candied ginger. An easy task. I found the ginger and asked for a bag of ice to be added to my order. Done. I paid for both, neglected to go and pick up the bag of ice, and walked directly to my car. This is the same brain that forgot about a pan of cookies I was baking about a week ago, and when the timer sounded, I simply turned it off and entirely forgot why I set the timer in the first place. Those cookies were black hockey pucks, when I remembered them about 45 minutes later.

Perhaps I’m losing it, but most likely I’m just cultivating a case mindlessness, an unhealthy dose of multitasking, which is the exact opposite of being present, intentional, and mindful. I’m ready for some kind of intervention.

apple + old tom gin cocktails | holly & floraapple + old tom gin cocktails | holly & flora

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fall hot toddies | with leopold bros. + dram apothecary

Happy Thanksgiving, my friends! I know I’m a little late with the well wishes, but the love is here, nonetheless. I wanted to unplug for the holiday, which was just the right call. I trust you enjoyed your time with family or friends {or even treasured time alone}. Steve and I had originally planned to just cozy up, watch old Christmas specials, and fix a feast for the two of us. Snow was in the forecast, so we didn’t have the desire to venture out. Work’s been rather stressful as of late, so we really didn’t want to do much socializing.

A cheery, last-minute invitation from two of our most cherished friends changed our minds. We chose an armful of our favorite wines, bundled up for the brisk, 20-degree weather, hastily threw an apple pie together, and made the hour-long journey to the town of Larkspur, a sparsely populated town that spans rolling hills and boasts the most spectacular views of Pike’s Peak and the Front Range. We got to meet some peacocks, hang out with about 30 or so new-to-us friends, frolic with some hens and turkeys, and talk beekeeping with a rancher.

More on this crazy visit in another post.

Even though that pie was the worst pie I’ve made in my life so far, the time spent with old and new friends on a ranch out on the foothills, on the snowiest day of the year, was one of the most memorable. I am, however, baking another pie tomorrow morning to prove I’m still capable of nailing a flaky crust. Because redemption.

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how to make bloody mary mix | my farm-to-glass trip to red gold tomatoes

I’m sitting at my desk, looking at my weather app and realizing the sunny, sixty-five degree weather we’ve enjoyed over the past three days is about to disappear come Thursday. Just in time for Thanksgiving. And just in time for our heater to break down. My boyfriend’s been tweaking with our house’s antiquated electrical wiring, and I think something must have gone amok. I’ve got my space heater cranking, and I am wearing fingerless gloves, as I type.

I suppose worse things could happen, right?

Steve and I have been putting the finishing touches on our kitchen this past week, hence the electrical tweaking. We finally chose some lighting above the peninsula, and we just installed some recessed dimmer lights and a couple of spotlights above the sink, counters, and stove. I’m laughing because it’s taken us nearly two years to agree on the style of exposed shelves we wanted to span the white glass back-splash. My parents might say we are procrastinators, but I like to describe ourselves as “discerning and particular”. It just sounds better.

This little snap of warm weather enticingly brought me back summer in my mind, and I craved my summer treat staples, especially a juicy, ripe, red tomato. Not to be found. I even toyed around with the idea of making freezer pops. There’s one thing, however, I love to make in the dead of winter, and that’s a spicy Bloody Mary, made with tomatoes we preserved from our summer garden.

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the mai tai: variation on a theme 01 | a peek inside emily han’s “wild drinks + cocktails”

This week, I am super stoked to highlight a book from one of my favorite cocktail creators, Emily Han. Emily just released her book, Wild Drinks and Cocktails, which is filled with a bevy of recipes to add to cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks, alike. The pages are brimming with beautiful photos and recipes for handcrafted syrups, shrubs, bitters, infusions, squashes, and switchels. I’d like to think that this book was written personally for me. If she lived here in Colorado, I just know we’d be fast friends, scouring the Front Range for cocktail components!

Emily’s book is my favorite addition to my kitchen counter all year. It won’t be collecting dust anytime soon. She gave me special permission to share one of my favorite recipes from her book, and since I’ve been on a Tiki cocktail kick recently, I felt that making her hazelnut orgeat, a nut-based syrup used in many a Tiki drink, would be fitting. Let’s meet Emily, learn how to make her hazelnut orgeat, craft a classic Mai Tai, and put a creative spin on this classic.

And I won’t judge you, if you decide to make one before noon on a Wednesday!

variation on a theme: mai tai | a peek inside emily han's "wild drinks + cocktails" variation on a theme: mai tai | a peek inside emily han's "wild drinks + cocktails"

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