February 6, 2014 by Jenn
Here’s the newest installment of managing your bar! Today’s DIY will show you how you can make your own lavender simple syrup. This is a really great way to add the flavor of lavender without it being overwhelming.
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 3 1/2 TBSP culinary lavender*
*you can use regular lavender leaves but it won’t taste as good as culinary lavender. I purchased mine from amazon.
Bring the cup of water and the lavender to a boil. Stir in the sugar and whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved. Whisk another 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool. Using a bar strainer, strain out the lavender.
That’s it! Keep your syrup in a bottle or a jar in the fridge. It will keep for 10 days.
Next time I will show you a cocktail to create from the items we’ve made so far!
January 22, 2014 by Jenn
Managing your bar will be a new addition to the blog where I give you cheap and fun ways to create your own additions to your bar cart including bitters, simple syrups, and even liquors. A new segment for our blog was born out of sheer frustration. Two things happened recently, 1. I couldn’t find any interesting bitters flavors that I wanted and 2. When I found them, they were dumb expensive. There is a fancy liquor store in town and they wanted 19 dollars for blackberry bitters…. WHAT?! So I decided that I don’t need their stinkin’ bitters. I will make my own. Guess what? It’s SO easy.
There are a lot of posts that say you can make bitters from vodka but this just isn’t true. Vodka is not grain alcohol which is what you need in order to suck out all the flavors of whatever you are turning into bitters. If you soak a fruit in vodka, it will sort of taste like what you want but Everclear on the other hand will suck out all the flavor and make your bitters pretty colors to boot.
For those who don’t know: Everclear is a clear distilled grain alcohol that is bottled at both 151-proof and 190-proof. I used the 190-proof to get high octane result. Don’t worry about the grain alcohol having an affect your cocktails alcohol-wise or taste-wise, the amount of bitters used in a cocktail is so small that the grain alcohol won’t make a difference, it’ll just add really great flavor since it’ll be so concentrated. The bitters I created are Orange Cinnamon Bitters and Blueberry Bitters. Let’s get started!
To make these bitters you will need:
- 1 bottle Everclear
- 2 jars with tight fitting lids
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 3 cinnamon sticks
- 1 orange
- vegetable peeler
The amount of Everclear you use is really up to you. I know I would use the Orange Cinnamon Bitters more often than the Blueberry Bitters, so I made more of the Orange Cinnamon. I used 1 1/2 cups of Everclear for the Orange Cinnamon Bitter. I poured the Everclear into my jar then I dropped in the 3 cinnamon sticks and the peels of 1 orange. (I ate the orange as a bitters making snack after I peeled it) For the Blueberry Bitters, I used 1 cup of Everclear and 1 Cup of blueberries. Really, the amount of product you put into the Everclear really depends on how strong you want the bitters to be. Once the fruit is in the Everclear, screw on the lids tightly and put them in a cool dark place (I used a kitchen cabinet) and let them sit for 25 days. You might be thinking 25 days?! It takes a while for the alcohol to suck out all the flavor. After the 25 days, unscrew the lid and taste the bitters. If the flavor is right, remove the fruit with tongs or a fork will do just fine. If the bitters are not strong enough, leave them be for another 3 days and taste them again. Keep checking in 3 day increments until they are perfect. My bitters sat for a total of 31 days. Depending on how much alcohol you use, you could easily make 6 different kinds of bitters from one bottle of Everclear. SO much cheaper!
What’s super weird is that once I took out my blueberries, they were really hard! Like rocks. All the juice had been infused into the bitters!
The same happened with the orange peels, they were colorless and hard once they were removed. The grain alcohol totally did it’s job.
Once you’re finished you can bottle them or leave them in the jars. As long as they are tightly sealed, the bitters will last up to 6 months. Label them and poof! You’re ready to have a delicious cocktail with a great flavor!
January 2, 2014 by Jenn
It’s January folks! This is the time of year when we all become a lot more health conscious. One inexpensive thing you can do to keep yourself healthy is wash your food.
Obviously buying organic is preferable but sometimes it’s expensive and we just can’t afford it that week. A good alternative is to wash your fruits and vegetables, or rather soak them. Even if I buy organic, I still always soak them. The veggie wash not only takes off the waxes and pesticides residing on the skin but it also keeps your produce fresh longer. It’s simple. Take a large pot or basin and fill it with 1 TBSP salt, 1 1/2 cups distilled white vinegar, and 2 1/2 cups water. Mix well and then drop in all your fruits and veggies. Let em soak for a few hours and then rinse with cold water. There isn’t enough vinegar to make the food have a strange taste or smell so no worries about that. Doing what you can to control what’s going in your body is important. Try it out! It’s easy and inexpensive. Some of the veggie washes sold in stores actually have chemicals in them which is totally counter productive. Keep it clean!
December 4, 2013 by Jenn
Unfortunately like so many other people, I do not have a working fireplace. I don’t even have a mantle. I do, however, have a really big chalkboard wall. No fireplace? No problem. I decided to draw my own!
ALl you need is chalkboard paint! I used a bunch of different fonts in chalk and silver card stock on top of yellow felt for the “Merry” banner. Now our stockings are hung up in from of the fire.