Earlier this week, I got message from an Instagram follower who was planning a happy hour. He wanted to know my go-to summer drink. That was an easy one! It’s this sparkling whiskey lemonade with basil and mint.
I’ve been serving this shit since before I was a person who really made cocktails, and I could drink it all damn day, every day and not get sick of it. It’s sweet, it’s tart, it’s herbal, it’s bubbly, and it’s boozy. Of course, it could be made without the bubbles or the booze and it would still be good. And if you’d rather make it with just basil or mint, that’s fine, too, but they work really well together in this super-summery drink.
Actually, forget everything I just said. You should definitely make it with everything. It’s really fucking good that way.
I like to serve my sparkling whiskey lemonade in a tall tumbler or Collins glass. I mean, isn’t there some saying about something being a tall glass of something? Or a tall drink of something? Is it water? Lemonade? Paint thinner? I don’t even know. All I know is this drink is refreshing as fuck and I want a lot of it and that requires a tall glass, okay? If you want to go even bigger, it’s easy to make ahead in large batches (just hold off on the club soda and ice until it’s time to party).
Speaking of large batches, this drink does require a lot of lemon juice. I get that. And I know I always say if you use anything other than fresh-squeezed citrus juice in your cocktails you’re a god-damn monster. I still stand by that. But… if you’re making a lot of this and just can’t seem to keep up with the squeezing of the lemons, you can use bottled juice. JUST THIS ONE TIME. If you’re gonna go that route, I really like the Santa Cruz stuff. It’s not cheap. But you know what? Time is money and sometimes you’re trying to throw a party and you don’t have time to squeeze seven million tiny little dry-ass grocery store lemons. Of course, if you do want to squeeze your own lemons, just do it while your basil-mint simple syrup is simmering. (See? I just saved you some time. You’re welcome.)
Sparkling Whiskey Lemonade with Basil and Mint
½ cup lemon juice
¼ cup basil-mint simple syrup
2 ounces whiskey
Lemon wheel or basil or mint sprig for garnish
Add the lemon juice, syrup, and whiskey to the glass. Add a handful of ice, then top off with club soda. Garnish and enjoy!
Basil-Mint Simple Syrup
To make the basil-mint simple syrup, combine 1 cup sugar, 1 cup water, and 1 cup (minimum) fairly loosely packed basil and/or mint leaves (some stems are fine, too) in a saucepan over medium heat. Bring it to a boil then reduce the heat to low to simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the sugar is dissolved and your entire house smells like fucking summer. Remove the pan from the heat and let it steep for another 15 to 30 minutes. Strain using a fine mesh sieve and discard the herbs, then set aside or refrigerate the syrup to cool. This will make about 1 cup (to make more, just use equal parts everything and a bigger pot) and the extra will keep in a sealed jar in the fridge for at least two weeks, but probably longer.
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Okay. I agree; at first glance, this drink may not seem super American, but even forgetting for a second the fact that Mexico is very much part of North America, this sugar-free watermelon margarita is still totally ‘MERICAN as fuck and quite appropriate to drink while celebrating the Fourth of July. Let me explain: It’s made with watermelon. The end.
Now that that’s out of the way, let me tell you all the other ways this drink is great.
For starters, it totally adheres to my fucked-up version of a Whole30 — which is really strict except for the fact that it also allows for the unlimited consumption of carb-free straight booze (whiskey, vodka, tequila, etc.). In fact, it’s totally sugar free, unless you count alcohol sugars and the sugars that occur naturally in the fruit (which I don’t). It’s made with just watermelon juice, fresh-squeezed lime juice, tequila, and sea salt. And about that sea salt: It’s IN the drink; not on the rim of the glass. I admit that happened mostly because I like salty margaritas but didn’t want to muck up my beautiful new vintage margarita glasses that I think are actually Italian champagne coupes, but whatever. It WORKS. Remember how your grandma used to put salt on watermelon? It’s like that. But plus tequila.
So I guess the only thing left here is figuring out how you take your margarita: frozen or on the rocks?
Well, TOO FUCKING BAD. This one is neither. It’s served up. I shake all the ingredients with ice in my fancy mason jar, then strain it into the glass and give it an aromatic garnish of fresh basil.
Guys, I really think I’ve revolutionized the margarita here. Except that really I’ve just made it like a daiquiri and put salt in the drink instead of on the rim. Which — now that I think about it — is actually probably pretty revolutionary. Kind of like the war that won this great nation its independence. (SEE WHAT I DID THERE?)
Sugar-Free Watermelon Margarita
½ cup watermelon juice*
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lime juice
1½ ounces tequila
Pinch sea salt
Fresh basil, for garnish
Add the watermelon juice, lime juice, tequila, and sea salt to a cocktail shaker with a handful of ice. Shake well and strain into a coupe or margarita glass. Garnish with the fresh basil and another pinch of sea salt if you’re feeling salty.
*Easy. Just blend watermelon and strain it through a fine mesh sieve. About 2½ cups of haphazardly chopped watermelon gave me a little more than 1½ cups juice.
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Hey, friends. It’s that time of the month again! No, I don’t have my period. It’s just time to get your printable July 2017 calendar, available at the bottom of this post as a free digital download. (But, really, if I did have my period, what would you even do about it?) Anyway, this month I put some fern-like tropical frond thing on it. Because, as with everything lately, #putafrondonit, am I right? And because I assume your printer is as shitty as mine, I’ve made it available in both color and black and white again.
One thing you may notice is that the boxes are a little smaller than usual. That’s because this miserable month spans six damn weeks. Not six entire weeks, but it still touches down in six different weeks. Can you believe it? That’s six weeks in which we’ll be dealing with dirty feet, under-boob sweat, and general heat-induced malaise. But honestly, other than putting on sunscreen every 30 minutes, checking yourself for skin cancer, finally planning that move to Alaska, and procuring a big, floppy hat, you probably won’t need to write down much — because who can get anything done when it’s seven fucking million degrees outside?
And I know I say it every month, but I really, really, really will get around to setting up a newsletter so I can mine your data before giving you free shit. Eventually. Until that happens, the only thing I ask in return is that you follow me on Instagram already. That’s not so hard, now is it? (Really, it’s NOT hard. Here’s the link one more time in case you missed it three sentences ago.) Now that all that business is out of the way, you can carry on with downloading your very own printable July 2017 calendar in color or black and white.
And don’t forget to follow me on Instagram. (We’re on the honor system here. Don’t be a dick.)
In case you haven’t noticed by now, I’m really into ginger. Like, REALLY into it — for sure make-out-with-it into it and maybe even leave-my-husband-for-it into it. I put it in whatever food I can, and I almost always find a way to sneak it into cocktails. This weekend, I’m helping to host a brunch for a local magazine thing (more on that later) and I’m in charge of drinks. Well, the boozy drinks anyway. It’s an outdoor brunch in the fucking armpit of summer (wait, is it really only the third day of summer?!), so it doesn’t really feel like the right time to make a spicy-as-fuck Bloody Mary, and a classic mimosa just seems BOR-ING. So, I decided to combine a few of my favorite things to make this refreshing AF grapefruit ginger mimosa.
Those favorite things — in case you haven’t figured it out by now — are fresh-squeezed ruby-red grapefruit juice (don’t be a monster who uses the bottled kind, okay?), ginger liqueur, and of course, a dry but ultimately cheap champagne. The grapefruit juice is a little more tart than traditional orange juice (I prefer the tartness), but the Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur I use is sweet and brings a nice balance to this bubbly drink.
But before we get to the actual recipe/proportions, a confession: Though I made this mimosa in a champagne flute this time, you should know I bought four of the damn things just for the magazine shoot. If I were just being my normal, laid-back, DGAF self, I would likely have used a stemless wine glass, or if I were feeling fancy, a coupe glass. I have major beef with most stemmed glasses, but a coupe is just so fucking sexy (exhibit A, exhibit B). I know people will tell you it really matters what you put your drink in, and when you’re sipping a fancy craft beer or expensive red wine, sure, it matters. But for this I say: FUCK IT. PUT IT IN A SOLO CUP FOR ALL I CARE. It’s still gonna taste good and get you tipsy.
Grapefruit Ginger Mimosa
2 ounces fresh-squeezed ruby-red grapefruit juice
1 ounce Domaine de Canton ginger liqueur
Add the grapefruit juice and ginger liqueur to a champagne flute (or just a stemless wine glass if you’re unfussy but totally cool like me before I had to buy these stupid fancy flutes), then top it off with the chilled champagne. Enjoy!
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I know it’s been a minute since I’ve posted a craft tutorial. And for that, I’m sorry. I’ve been busy with work-work, and no one is paying me to do this shit — yet, anyway. (Related: Anyone want to pay me to do this shit? Now taking sponsors!). To make it up to you, I’d like to think I’m back in a big way with this amazing, easy, DIY brass hanging planter-slash-best IKEA hack ever.
Brass hanging planters have been on my mind for a while, ever since my new pal Bev had me over for drinks (her plant game is on point). I wanted to buy one for my own house, but at $198 a pop, let’s just say, um, hell no. So I started thinking about how I could make one. Well, I didn’t think so much as I just started spray painting and drilling into shit and made multiple trips to Dollar General and the hardware store and got super high on spray-paint fumes more than once even though I know I shouldn’t spray paint indoors — only to make something that looked like total trash. Part of the problem was the cheap-ass plastic bowl. The other issue was that I couldn’t find an actual brass-colored spray paint at any of the four hardware stores I visited.
After all that, I knew I needed a better paint color. And I needed a metal bowl, not a bullshit dollar-store plastic one. In fact, I had a shape — actually a very specific bowl — in mind. It just took me two days of fucking around with other materials before I remembered that said bowl was from IKEA — and it cost only $5. And even though I know it’s evil, there’s a store that rhymes with “stobby shobby” right next to my IKEA and I figured they might have brass spray paint, and I was over in that part of town anyway, and God dammit, I was right.
So, in less than an hour, I spray painted a bowl, let it dry, tied some fucking rope around it, and tried to forget about all the time and money I wasted getting to this point. TL:DR: I burned through time and money and brain cells so you don’t have to. You’re welcome.If you want to make your own DIY brass hanging planter, here’s what you’ll need:
- IKEA Blanda Blank Bowl
- Brass (or gold) spray paint
- Sand paper (optional)
- Washi tape
- Potting soil
- Plant (preferably one that will cascade as it grows)
If you’re feeling super not-lazy, sand the outside of the bowl a bit to give it some texture.
Spray it with brass or gold spray paint and let it dry. (I should probably take this opportunity to let you know that the particular brass spray paint I used was not the easiest thing in the world to deal with. I had a few mess-ups that I sanded out, but honestly, they just kind of gave the whole thing a nice aged look. And I give a suggestion for a fairly comparable gold paint down below.)
When the paint is dry, tie some fucking rope around it to create the hanger. I used this tutorial, and I guess it’s macrame? Or not. Anyway, let’s just say it is. It was my first-ever macrame-ish project and it took less than 10 minutes and it was SO easy. One recommendation, though: Do the macrame before you paint the bowl. While the brass paint stood up to the washi tape I used to hold the rope in place, one of the many other paints I tried did not.
At my local plant store, I found an eco liner that fit perfectly in the bowl. I figure it will help a bit with drainage, but that might also be all in my head (this planter doesn’t have any drainage feature, so I’m just going to try to avoid overwatering my plant). I put it all together, hung it in my dining room and decided it looked like a million fucking dollars. Or at least 198 dollars. I liked it so much and it was so damn easy, I made another one for my bathroom using the smaller Blanda Blank bowl. (Speaking of, how many plants is too many plants to have in a small bathroom? Because right now I’m up to six.) For this one, I used the Krylon Short Cuts in Gold Leaf (also from the evil store, but I’m sure you can find it elsewhere) and and it was worlds easier to use. No mess-ups, perfect on the first try, and close enough to brass that if I make another one, I’ll definitely use this paint. If you’re looking for a ridiculously easy, super-impressive DIY, this is it.