Category Archives: wine

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

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port-soaked strawberry spritzes | symbiosis

I couldn’t get my act together to post a Fourth of July-inspired cocktail recipe for you. I simply didn’t have the forethought to plan out a celebratory and timely, red-white-and-blue cocktail. I did, however, make something seasonally sweet and slightly bitter, albeit slightly patriotic in its presentation. It’s all about that balance.

Let’s first take a moment and talk about booze-soaked fruit. As I type this post, I currently have six different fruity and boozy infusions sitting on my kitchen counter. Ten, if you include the kombucha in its secondary fermentation state. Why the urge to take something already delicious in its current form, especially the seasonal treats we are all soaking up right now, and add even more dimension, complexity, and {the best part} longevity?

Perhaps it’s the aspect of preserving something and extending its life and flavor, akin to taking a current mood and carving it into a permanent memory. A means of capturing life. Booze extends the life of fruits, and, in turn, the fruit imbues its aromas and flavors into something that lets it live a little longer.

Fruit, immortalized. Those clever, little things.

port-soaked strawberry spritzes | holly & flora

Booze and fruit have an efficient, symbiotic relationship together. Even lately, I’ve found myself tossing around questions like, “Do my current actions align with my future goals?” and “How can I use my current life situation to enable me to take the next step?” Just after I woke up this morning, I was scrolling through Twitter and came across a NYT piece on monotasking {thanks, Sherrie!}. I think many of us are seeing that multitasking actually results in less fulfilling work, fewer completed tasks, and more overwhelm and exhaustion.

I can definitely relate.

There was one point yesterday where I actually spun around in circles trying to remember what I was even doing in the basement after leaving my computer screen moments prior. I had about 34 browsers up on my computer, and I was trying to code photos for the website, while brainstorming another recipe, while editing photos from earlier in the day, while Skyping with my sister, while keeping the cat off my desk, while scarfing down a forgotten, slightly stale sandwich, while checking Instagram, while …

… while not getting much actual work done at all.

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I know I’m not alone here, but let’s temporarily get back to those boozy, fruity situations. I’ve been fixated on spritzes, since summer’s arrival. They’re fizzy and generally light, but they also swing toward the bitter side of the flavor spectrum. A classic spritz is Aperol, Prosecco, sparkling water, and an orange slice, served in a wine glass on the rocks. That citrus-y, bright orange, bubbly cocktail wins me over poolside and garden-side every. single. time.

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honeydew, shiso + kiwi sake cocktails | low abv is a good thing

Low ABV cocktails. They’re definitely a thing. I’ve even spotted drink lists with entire sections dedicated to highlighting these lower-in-alcohol tipples. My former college self would most likely have scoffed at ordering a cocktail intentionally made with less alcohol, but at this point in my life, I’m more into sessionable, summer sippers – cocktails that don’t knock you on your face after just one.

This is where I’ve loved mixing either wine or vermouth or sake in my cocktails. Each of those components brings unique flavors and textures to a drink, and they are relatively low in alcohol, by volume. This particular cocktail tastes more like a tropical juice drink than a boozy cocktail. There’s just enough gin to add some complexity and a slight kick, but there’s plenty of muddled kiwi and honeydew to keep you hydrated.

Because summer.honeydew + kiwi sake cocktails with shiso drinking vinegar | holly & flora honeydew + kiwi sake cocktails with shiso drinking vinegar | holly & flora honeydew + kiwi sake cocktails with shiso drinking vinegar | holly & flora

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lilac 75 cocktails + lilac syrup | eat boutique

I just walked inside from a short, sun-dappled walk through the garden. This week, the temperatures have spiked upwards into the mid-nineties. All of a sudden, I’m craving more salads, donning shorts, and seeking shade. Our late-spring lilacs, tulips, and alliums have been replaced with sprawling lemon balm, bright nasturtiums, and flowering salvia. I absolutely love this ebb and flow of the seasonal changes. We’ve also packed every possible place within our yard with tomatoes, herbs, squashes, and eggplants.

It’s finally feeling like summer.

Even though the fragrant, yet fleeting, blossoms of lilacs have most likely faded everywhere by now, you’ll have to pin this particular recipe for lilac syrup to make next year. I recently created a Lilac 75, featuring this purple-hued, lilac syrup, for Eat Boutique, a story-driven recipe site, beautifully dedicated to all-things food-gifting. I met Eat Boutique’s founder, Maggie Battista last October, when I attended The Hello Sessions in Portland, Oregon. We immediately hit it off and made a day of hitting the city’s hot spots, along with our lovely, mutual friend, Bobbie.

If you’ll recall, I made a version of one of Maggie’s food gift recipes from her cookbook, Food Gift Love, back in December. I adapted her recipe for homemade grenadine and made a celebratory Clover Club cocktail here on the blog. I’m super excited and honored to be sharing even more garden-inspired cocktail recipes over on Eat Boutique in the near future! I’ll definitely keep you posted.

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rhubarb + rosé ramos gin fizzes | getting our hands dirty

I’m definitely a strong supporter of getting my hands dirty, both literally and figuratively. Rolling up my sleeves and doing whatever it takes to make it happen: the job, the dream, the dishes, the groundwork, the coffee.

Today is one of those extra dirty days. I scrapped my earlier introduction here because I just have to keep it real. I let the basement flood last night. This actually happened. I was home alone, happy to have an unexpected evening off. I had been catching up in the garden, planting the last of the peppers, and I walked inside the front door. I heard a fluttering sound coming from the vent. I jiggled the lever and figured that something like a piece of paper was lodged in the ducts. No big deal. I had a shower to get after.

rhubarb + rosé ramos gin fizz | initiating the jumprhubarb + rosé ramos gin fizz | initiating the jump

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