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Cocktails

Cocktails, Collaboration, Food

Blueberry Lemon Vodka Fizz

THIS RECIPE IS PART OF THE #FBCCONNECTINGOVERCOCKTAILS COLLABORATION. SCROLL PAST THE RECIPE TO SEE WHAT MY FRIENDS HAVE POURED!

If any friend of mine is looking at these photos, they’re probably pinching their eyes or squeezing their temples in a fit of hangover flashbacks. This glorious cocktail has become *the* summer drink in our household and, needless to say, people like to drink a lot of them. Or maybe I’m just super eager to top their glasses off so I can make sure they’re on my level. Whatever the case…

Every season seems to have it’s bev. Fall has us all cozied up with mulled wine and spiked ciders; in winter, we curl up with those dangerous bourbonated hot toddies; spring inspires us to revitalize and make use of floral notes (remember my Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea?); and summer has us quenching our thirst with refreshing mixes, like this effervescent Blueberry Lemon Vodka Fizz.

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Cocktails, Collaboration, Food

Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea

THIS RECIPE IS SPONSORED BY ARBOR TEAS | OPINIONS ARE MY OWN

I don’t know what the weather has been like for you over these past few months, but here in North Carolina, it’s been a meteorological rollercoaster. If we could be done with that, that would be great. I’m longing for that brief but beautiful period between the frigid winter and soggy summer when we’re spoiled with a breezy 70-80 degrees. And I want to hold onto those days ever-so-tightly, because once the summer swaddles us with its hot and sticky hands, I’ll want to be done with that too.

Can’t win, won’t win.

That’s why it’s crucial to have a go-to summer thirst-quencher ready, chilled, and available in your fridge; one that also acts as a cure-all for those irritating days at work. (Despite working from home, I have those too.)

Though I’m known for my boozy sangrias, there’s a new punch in town; let’s just say that “tea time” has reached a brand new high 😉

Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea | Killing ThymeThis ruby-hued Spiked Hibiscus Iced Tea is part of the spring collaboration for #ConnectingOverCocktails. This is our third installment, and the collection of libations gets more and more exciting every time! For this installment, we decided to work around a floral theme to welcome spring. Because I’ve recently transitioned from being an I-need-a-coffee-IV-attached-to-my-arm type of person to a tea-all-day-every-day type, I wanted to boast my newfound appreciation. And there was no better way to do that than with my favorite tea folks over at Arbor Teas! *chest bump* I knew that their organic, sustainable, and fair trade petals would be pure perfection for this mélange, and after preparing a pitcher of this good stuff, I was beyond satisfied.

This brew is refreshing AF and gives off floral notes mixed with lemony bits and earthiness. The addition of fresh mint adds a soothing cooling effect.

(Oh, and did I mention the blueberry vodka?)

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Cocktails, Food

Caramel Apple Sangria

Caramel Apple Sangria

My idea of a fun and boozy drink strays from the usual piña coladas, strawberry daiquiris and chocolate martinis (dirty martinis are the only martinis, my friends). In my world, a fruity and harmonious sangria takes the proverbial cake. 

I’m no mixologist, but after the abundance of trial and error sangrias my Mum and I whipped up before I moved away last year (including this thirst-quenching Blueberry Lemonade Sangria), I’m confident I have a tried and true formula to work with. This Caramel Apple Sangria seems to suggest so, anyway.

What makes a good sangria?

A sangria should be a joy to sip at. It should lift your spirits without dropping you on your face; it should help you through awkward family functions without causing you to get mouthy. Unless you’re me — then you’re just sassy AF.

FLAVOR.

I don’t want my sangria to taste like melted candy — so easy on the simple syrup, friends. I’m an adult; I appreciate the essence of booze shooting up my straw, not Hi-C, thanks. Additionally, a blend of flavors is super important; a party in a pitcher shouldn’t be one-dimensional. Also, I want chunks of fruit in my drink. I want drunken apple slices and pears; I want cherries. Give me the most 21-years-of-age-or-older fruit cup that you can muster up.

BOOZE.

  1. Brandy. I think Brandy plays a pretty big role because it’s generally sweeter than whiskey and offers floral notes along with the essence of fresh/dried fruit + a citrus zest. That’s what we’re going for with a sangria, amirite?
  2. Triple Sec. A splash of Triple Sec, or any orange-flavoured liqueur, brightens a sangria perfectly. You don’t need much, which is nice, because you can keep it on hand for future sangrias. Many, many future sangrias.
  3. Infused vodka. This is my new crux when it comes to making a delicious sangria. The flavor will depend on what you’re going for, but I couldn’t have accomplished this Caramel Apple Sangria without caramel-infused vodka.
  4. Rum? Meh. I say, if you can go the infused vodka route, do it. Rum doesn’t do much for me in a sangria. It’s filler and can be a flavor killer. A lot of recipes will call for it, but infused vodka forever — please and thank you.

Caramel Apple Sangria

Caramel Apple Sangria

Caramel Apple Sangria

Though I’ve always loved the flavor of caramel apples, I’ve never enjoyed eating them. I guess I respect my teeth too much — which is why this sangria is heaven-sent. With this drink, I can get the flavor of ALL the caramel apples while not ruining my chompers. WIN.

I’m not going to be bossy and tell you what apples to use, but I highly recommend Granny Smith; they pack the hardest punch with their uber tartness which, of course, plays well with all of the sweet that happens in this recipe.

Caramel Apple Sangria

Caramel Apple Sangria

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Cocktails, Food

Guest Post: Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojitos by Justine Celina

Hey there, Killing Thyme readers! It’s so nice to *e-meet* you. I’m thrilled to be sharing the recipe for my Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojitos with you today! First things first, allow me to introduce myself. I’m Justine Celina Maguire and I blog over at JustineCelina.com, a creative lifestyle blog. Over the past year and 5 months I’ve been blogging, JustineCelina has become a hub of curated content covering a variety of topics including lifestyle, beauty, fashion, food, entertaining, music, design and DIY. I’m passionate about creating in every area of my life and sharing it — it’s been a wild ride and I’m so grateful to be able to connect with like-minded people (like Dana and all of you!) through this amazing platform. I hope you’ll stop by sometime to see what else I’m up to!

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So now, onto this cocktail. It’s funny — I haven’t always been a gin fan. In fact, I’ve only come to enjoy the taste of gin this summer. When I was a teenager, my Mom’s drink of choice was a simple gin and tonic. Well, it turns out that a gin and tonic on the rocks and a glass of ice water look exactly the same — that is until you gulp it down, only to realize that your ice water is actually your Mom’s gin and tonic! We had a few good laughs and eventually stopped using the same glasses, but needless to say I’ve only recently acquired a taste for gin as an adult.
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This recipe came about organically, as most of my recipes do. During my last visit to my childhood home in rural Alberta this summer, I volunteered as bartender. My Mom, of course, requested a gin cocktail. She knows I love to experiment with cocktails and usually enjoys whatever I whip up, so I happily went to work. In the fridge, I found lots of fresh lemons, along with a gorgeous bunch of mint and some cucumbers. I immediately thought of a gin based, mojito-style cocktail. There were also some fresh blueberries set out for snacking right next to where I was playing mixologist, so I decided to muddle a few in with the other ingredients. I took a sip to test my creation and I was shocked at how much I liked it — gin and all! So, I decided to make one for myself with a few tweaks and that was how this Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojito recipe was conceived.
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I’ve been blueberry crazy this summer! We’re coming to the end of blueberry season in North America and I’ve been experimenting with different ways to preserve them to make the magic last. What I came up with is a blueberry simple syrup made from honey, rather that traditional white sugar. I’m all about making healthier, more natural substitutions in my cooking and baking — and yes, even in my cocktails. To be honest, we don’t even keep white sugar in our pantry! My Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup adds so much flavour and a lovely purple hue to these cocktails.
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My Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojitos combine sweet blueberries with refreshing lemon, cucumber and mint. A healthy dose of gin unites the flavour profiles of these late summer sippers and a splash of soda water adds just the right amount of sparkle. My gin mojitos are free of refined sugars and made with all natural ingredients — so the next time you’re craving a cooling summer cocktail, indulge yourself with a fresh twist on the classic mojito!
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Another thing I like to do is incorporate edible flowers into my recipes whenever I can — I’m enamoured with flowers and blog about them frequently! I foraged these pansies from my Mom’s garden and love the fun pops of colour and cheerful feeling they add to the cocktail. If you want to get creative and make these Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojitos really pretty, you can experiment with freezing edible flowers into ice cubes to preserve them, or simply use them to garnish your cocktail. Flowers (edible or otherwise) are an inexpensive, thoughtful way to elevate your libations or parties — and they’re one of my not so secret weapons, especially when I’m entertaining.
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Justine CelinaFor more exciting recipes and glamorous entertaining inspo from Justine, head on over to JustineCelina.com.

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Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojitos

Ingredients

For the Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup4 cups fresh blueberries

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • Juice from half a lemon

For the Blueberry, Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojito1.5oz Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup

  • 2 oz of gin
  • Juice from half a lemon
  • 5 leaves fresh mint
  • 5 slices of cucumber
  • Soda water
  • Ice

Optional GarnishEdible flowers (I used pansies)

  • Cocktail skewers
  • slice A of lemon
  • Fresh blueberries
  • A sprig of mint

Instructions

  1. If you’re making floral ice cubes, begin by sourcing your flowers, washing them and dropping them into the ice cube trays to freeze. You really can’t mess this up — so experiment with different flower place- ments within each cube and have fun with it!
  2. Start on your Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup. Add blueberries and water to a medium sauce pan over low heat. The blueberries will begin to break down quickly — help them along by pressing them with a potato masher to aid in extracting the juices. Simmer for 15 minutes.
  3. Strain the blueberry juice into a heatproof bowl, using the potato masher press the juice through the strainer. Reserve the juice for the Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup and discard the skins.
  4. Add the blueberry juice and honey back to the saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and allow to thicken for 10 minutes.
  5. Turn off the burner. Add the juice from half a lemon to your saucepan, stirring until incorporated. Allow your Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup to cool before using it in the Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojitos.
  6. Begin assembling your cocktail by adding lemon juice, mint and cucumber to a cocktail shaker and muddling them together with a pestle. Add Blueberry Honey Simple Syrup and a few ice cubes. Shake vigorously until the cocktail shaker becomes cold.
  7. Add the contents of the cocktail shaker to your glass along with your gin. Pour soda water overtop to fill your glass to the desired level.
  8. Garnish your Blueberry Lemon and Cucumber Gin Mojito with a slice of lemon and a few blueberries on a cocktail skewer.
  9. Add a sprig of mint, or a few more edible flowers and enjoy!
Cocktails, Food

Pineapple Pepper Punch

Pineapple Pepper Punch


Recipe at the end of the post.

Fun Fact: Pineapple has some amazing science-backed health benefits! For more details and some fun learning, click here.


Sugar and spice and everything nice… like vodka, right?

This punchy bev is inspired by a lot of things. It’s inspired by summer and my first real scorcher living in the South (which I’m not sure my Canadian maple syrup blood can handle); it’s inspired by the fact that it’s the weekend (holler!), but most importantly, this sweet and zippy concoction is inspired by some very special friendships I’ve made in the last six months.

Connecting Over Cocktails

Networking is important in business, and in the blogging world it’s no different. But what is also important (and much less evident) is creating solid relationships with fellow bloggers. A few of my closest blogging chums and I decided to give a nod to the significance of blogging buddies – and what better way than through a cocktail link party?

Pineapple Pepper Punch 3
If we’re friends, you’ve heard me say it time and time again: bloggin’ ain’t easy. This is especially true when it becomes your life. Blogging for business is a constant battle to balance creation, learning, delivery, analytics, research, promotion, networking – and unlike other jobs, where you have your colleagues to join you in griping about work woes, you’re on your own here.

Probably why most of us drink, yeah?

Pineapple Pepper Punch 4

When I grumble to my family or friends about the woes that come with running a blog, I know they can’t fathom it and, as a result, they can’t say what I need to hear. They can’t tell me they understand how annoying it is to create fresh, beautiful dishes only to be beaten out in the rankings by uninspired no-bake cheesecakes and anything wrapped in bacon; they can’t moan and groan with me about how fickle Foodgawker can be when they approve one of your mediocre photos only to deny one you consider a total gem the next day; family and friends don’t understand just how taxing it can be to pour yourself into a well-planned post only to have it ruined by a bad photo session. Most importantly, no one but fellow like-minded bloggers understand the struggles of denying unfit paid opportunities in an effort to avoid becoming a sell-out.

As bloggers, we are constantly questioning ourselves and our decisions, and we absolutely need those few pals to tell us, “Hey, you. You did the right thing.

Decisions are hard, blogging can be trying, and we need our blogging peers for support. We need their constructive criticism and we need them to help push us forward when we feel like we’re falling behind.

So, if you’re a blogger, go make blog friends. NOW. Find them in your blogging niche and, heck, outside of your niche too! To say it’s rewarding seems like an understatement.

To my blogging friends – thank you. Thank you for being my inspiration, my fuel, and the incredible support that you’ve been and will continue to be.

Pineapple Pepper Punch 5

 

Cheers to the #FBCConnectingWithCocktails link party members and my bests:

Sean from Diversivore with his Mezcalita del Ocaso

Taylor from The Girl On Bloor with her Watermelon Cucumber Mojitos

Justine from Justine Celina with her Rose Lychee Elderflower Sangria 

Jared from The Hesitant Chef with his Minted Cucumber and Gin

Cassie from Crumb Kitchen with her Spiked Strawberry Basil Limeade

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