Category Archives: whiskey

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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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 for the original post or skip down for the details on the recipe.


Scissors & Sage – “Cocktail Concocting with Jayme Henderson”


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


blood orange whiskey cocktail


  • 1 1/2 ounces whiskey or bourbon {I used Bulleit Bourbon}
  • 1/2 ounce Amaro Nonino Quintessentia
  • 2 1/2 ounces freshly squeezed blood orange juice (about two blood oranges)
  • 1/4 ounce freshly squeezed lemon juice (about a quarter of a lemon)
  • 1/2 ounce agave nectar
  • 2-3 dashes orange bitters
  • Sprig of thyme
  1. Juice the citrus and set aside.
  2. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the whiskey, amaro, blood orange juice, lemon juice, agave nectar, and bitters.
  3. Shake until nicely chilled. Strain and pour into a cocktail glass filled with fresh ice.
  4. Finally, squeeze the thyme sprig a few times to release its aroma and garnish!
  • This recipe can be easily doubled, and tastes great served up shaken and strained.
  • If you have trouble finding blood oranges, navels or other types can be substituted.
  • Depending upon the sweetness of the blood oranges, increase or decrease the amount of agave nectar, to taste.

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

blood orange whiskey cocktails | holly & flora


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

summer cherry bourbon smashes {2 ways}

Yep, here I go again! Posting more about summer cherries {with at least two more cherry posts in draft form!}. I cannot get enough of them right now. In fact, the boyfriend and I headed out to Berry Patch Farms in Brighton, Colorado, to pick our own pie cherries. I had never picked cherries before. It proved a little time-consuming, but we had so much fun! I even ended up befriending a chicken, temporarily losing my debit card, and coming across some snap peas along the way.

I have also been researching how to perfect my lattice crust technique for a possible cherry pie and dreaming up ideas on how to make adorable, miniature cherry pies in jars. Too bad work and gardening and laundry get in the way. Those cherries will have to wait until tomorrow. Until then, I am sneaking little handfuls of those sweet, red spheres and tossing them into glorious summer bourbon cocktails. Bourbon is not just for the cooler months. I’ll prove it.

A little less than a month ago, the season’s first cherries started to trickle in. They weren’t grown locally and tasted a tad sour, but I just couldn’t wait for Colorado cherries. So, I grabbed a couple pints and set out to make some brandied cherries. The process was messy but ever-so-delicious. As I mentioned before, when you decide to pit cherries, grab a friend, pop a bottle of wine, turn on some music, and cover yourself in a towel. Gloves help, too. I actually remembered those this past pitting adventure, thankfully. For once, I planned ahead and actually followed through!

I have come across some resourceful ways to preserve summer cherries, but sometimes it is tricky to find creative means to incorporate them later on. Enter the brandied cherries. I have used the cherries in small tarts, in bourbon smashes, and as a garnish in Manhattans. I even ventured out and used them in a glaze for a pork tenderloin. I am suddenly contemplating a boozy cherry popsicle right about now.


brandied cherry bourbon smash


  •  2 ounces bourbon {I used Tin Cup}
  • 4 brandied cherries {see my recipe}
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar or 1/2 ounce agave nectar
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • dash orange bitters {I used Miracle Mile}

Toss the brandied cherries, raw sugar, and lemon juice in a double old-fashioned glass and muddle well. Add ice, pour in the bourbon, and give a shake of bitters. I like to pour the cocktail into a shaker tin and pour it back into the glass to incorporate the cherries. A good stir will also work.

What if you don’t have any brandied cherries on hand? No worries. Just use the fresh cherries you have and make this adaptation. I made another version of bourbon smashes last summer, when we were remodeling our kitchen. Whenever I make this cocktail, I am reminded of that crazy time, when our house was full of boxes, and we had to do our cooking, dish-washing, and dining on our back porch. So, a good cherry bourbon smash makes me feel grateful!


fresh cherry bourbon smash


  • 1 1/2 ounces bourbon
  • 1/2 ounce Cardamaro {or amaretto, for a twist}
  • 4 fresh cherries
  • 1 tablespoon raw sugar or 1/2 ounce agave nectar
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • dash orange bitters

What are you doing with summer cherries, while they are in season? Later this week, I’ll be posting that cherry pie I mentioned, as well as some cherry coconut milk popsicles that were amazing.

Cheers to a great weekend!

smashy, smashy | renovations + cherry bourbon smashes

I won’t even begin to count how many days we have been renovating our hallway, kitchen, living room, and dining room areas.  If you have ever owned an old home, you know that once you start repairing a portion of your home, another dilemma arises.  You can choose to ignore the problem and cover it up, or you can take the extra time, money, and loss of sanity to fix it.  We chose the latter.  Washing dishes in the bathroom sink, drying dishes in the living room on boxes, sorting herbs on a cluttered and dirty back porch, finding stray forks in the laundry basket, and brushing debris off every exposed surface are just a few of our daily chores and challenges.   We have carved out actual pathways around the dusty stacks of our personal belongings.  From the looks of our house, I think I can officially declare myself a likely candidate for the show, “Hoarders.”  All of this stress and commotion calls for a cocktail…

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