Category Archives: rum

the north fork iced tea | a college classic grows up

Last night, I celebrated Halloween just the way I wanted to: quietly and cozily. The stars had aligned, and it was the first of four consecutive days away from the restaurant for me. We have been going through another managerial transition lately, which has entailed a little stress, so all I wished for was peace and quiet. It sounds kind of Grinch-y, but I turned off all the lights in the house, cracked a bottle of Chablis, cozied up down in the basement, lit some incense, and caught up on a couple of movies.

A big batch of brownies would have really topped it all off. Steve could’ve been there, too. We rarely share evenings off together, so those that we do share are cherished. I was super excited when he arrived home early from work last night, after a “painfully boring” holiday shift. The owner closed the restaurant an hour early, since only 80 people came in for dinner on a night that usually draws close to 200 or more guests. We’ll take every moment to hang outside of work together that we can.

Over the past few months, we have been able to sneak away for two days at a time and visit new-to-us parts of Colorado. We’ve gotten up at the crack of dawn, made the four-hour trek over the Continental Divide, and soaked in as many sights as possible, before driving back to Denver to work the next shift at the restaurant. We’ve gotten very good at maximizing our 48-hour mini-vacays, and we have especially fallen in love with the enchanting town of Paonia, a farming and former coal-mining town, which boasts just a little over 1,500 people. Multiple organic farms and wineries dot the bucolic landscape, shadowed by Mount Lamborn and Landsend Peak, within the Gunnison National Forest.

the north fork iced tea | a college classic grows up | holly & flora the north fork iced tea | a college classic grows up | holly & flora the north fork iced tea | a college classic grows up | holly & flora

the north fork iced tea | a college classic grows up | holly & floraOur last visit there together a couple weeks ago was beautiful. It’s my favorite time of year to drive up through the mountains. We stayed two nights at Agape Farm and Retreat just outside of Paonia. This bed and breakfast is nestled in the middle of an organic farm with access to a pine forest, an award-winning Pinot Gris vineyard, an heirloom apple orchard, and a vibrant, organic vegetable garden. The hosts, Nancy and her son, Nick, were the most gracious and accommodating. I seriously experienced the most peaceful night’s rest I’d had in years.

Continue reading

frozen pineapple, banana + coconut daiquiris | drinks from my dad’s cocktail garden

“Daddy, do it.”

Over the first several years of my life, that phrase effortlessly and confidently spilled out of my mouth. My dad was there when things needed to be fixed, when I got hurt, when I fell off my scooter, or when the ship was overturning, quite literally, in fact. When you’re little and you have a limited scope on how large and volatile the world actually is, you count on those who show up consistently in your life’s realm.

I counted on my dad.

As a family, we’d sail together, oftentimes in the Gulf of Mexico, in the midst of summer storms, in the face of bracing winds and powerful lightning. Just me, my sister, my step-mom, and my dad at the helm. I’d run down below and hide under my tangled arms, beside my sister, pressing my face to the slate-blue-striped pillows. We’d pray for our lives, at times, whilst trusting that our dad knew what he was doing: sailing the rough seas, braving the swells, navigating the sea floor.

Looking back, I think he was completely insane.

I put a lot of trust in him. Daddy. Please, do it. Please, don’t kill us. I am laughing as I type this, but we grew up as a sailing family, participating in races together, come storm or shine. We’d even take our parrots with us on certain sailing trips. I truly felt like I was living out a pirate’s life, up until there was a swell that knocked us over or a gust that threw us about. My sister fell overboard once. Thankfully, she wore a life jacket. We’re able to laugh about the incident now.

frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora

frozen pineapple + coconut daiquiris | my dad's cocktail garden | holly & flora

Life is bereft with bumps and delays and potholes. Those “vibrations” are inevitable. I believe that it’s where we pick up on those rhythms and beats that we find the algorithm, which enables us to achieve the most enriching opportunities for growth, providing us the most captivating stories.

I’ve always mentioned that the very foods we enjoy and the drinks we sip truly have healing benefits — not only within the nutrients they possess or their hydrating qualities or even their fiber content, but also within their ability to facilitate comfort, sympathy, or joy. For me, even the act of preparing a dish or crafting a cocktail allows me to be present and process the thoughts sifting through my mind.

Meditation.

Continue reading

coffee liqueur, banana + coconut cream poptails in almond-dusted dark chocolate | #popsicleweek

Duuuuuuude. It is so hot this week here in Denver. While it might not be the best week to photograph popsicles, it is definitely the right week to get down on some refreshing, innovative, exciting, frozen treats on sticks. That is just what is happening across the interwebs, thanks to ineffably creative Billy Green of Wit & Vinegar.

It’s officially #POPSICLEWEEK.

The last day of it, in fact. And I’m coming in hot with something insanely delicious. This is the fourth year of Billy’s roundup of frozen pops, and I couldn’t be more excited to share my favorite recipe-of-the-week, along with about 100 other bloggers. Here’s the entire list of popsicle participants. There are enough recipes to satisfy your summery cravings all season long.

And now for some rich, creamy, boozy {and vegan!} popsicles made with St. George Spirits’ NOLA Coffee Liqueur. They’re filled with blended bananas and full-fat coconut milk and drizzled with my favorite condiment-of-the-moment, dark chocolate magic shell. All of my favorite flavors, together in one frozen bite.coffee, banana + coconut cream poptails with vegan magic shell | #popsicleweek | holly & flora coffee, banana + coconut cream poptails with vegan magic shell | #popsicleweek | holly & flora coffee, banana + coconut cream poptails with vegan magic shell | #popsicleweek | holly & flora

Continue reading

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"

Continue reading

pumpkin pie martini with coconut cream + homemade pumpkin spice syrup

Today is the first day it actually feels like fall here in Denver. Cool, rainy, and cozy. Thankfully, I have the day off, and I defiantly plan on staying in my PJs most of the morning. There just may be a Hobbit marathon in the works. I am actually welcoming the idea. I came home from work rather late last night, and my entire house smelled of freshly cut basil. Steve took an inventory of the garden and harvested enough vegetables and herbs to span the surface area of our dining room table. There’s so much here to be grateful for.

Between the Hobbit movies, there will be lots of pesto-making, tomato-puréeing, chutney-prepping, and herb-drying. All of these are easily accomplished in my PJs, for the record. I think the most exciting event this Wednesday, however, is Sara Cornelius of Cake Over Steak‘s fabulous roundup, celebrating all-things-pumpkin! It is a #virtualpumpkinparty, and over 70 bloggers are sharing their favorite pumpkin-inspired recipes.

I couldn’t resist the challenge to create a pumpkin cocktail. And not one of those pumpkin-flavored cocktails with whipped cream vodka and store-bought pumpkin spice syrup. Oh, no. This one’s the real deal, and it’s made with full-fat coconut milk, a bitter amaro, homemade pumpkin spice simple syrup, and aged rum.

And it’s delicious. And you can already thank us all for fulfilling your pumpkin desires throughout the rest of the year.

pumpkin pie martini | holly & flora pumpkin pie martini | holly & flora Continue reading